Strange Valentines of the 1800s

Valentine’s Day – February 14th is always a favorite holiday for everyone. It is a method of sharing your deep loving feelings with any family member or friend. During the 1800s, with the use of cards and postcards sent for Valentine’s Day, secret admirers had an opportunity to confess their love without fear of direct rejection.

However, what those in the mid-to- late 1800s did was also send quite a different Valentine’s Day card to tenacious suitors to inform them to leave them alone. They were known as ‘Vinegar Valentines’. Such postcards or cards were scathing, sometimes anonymous cards that revealed a person’s unspeakable feelings about another person’s disgraceful qualities. There would be caricature-like drawings and some rather pithy poems.

These types of cards were very popular in the United States and the United Kingdom between the 1840s and early 1900s. Used not just to stop any unwanted attention but also to info a person they drank too much, were ugly, bald, were socially unacceptable, or any other negative behavior. WOW !

Many postmasters across the nation faced with some 25,000 ‘Vinegar Valentines’ just in Chicago at the turn of the 20th century decided such cards were unfit to send, due to the many rude and vulgar valentines.

By the end of the Great War (WW One) and into the 1920s, this practice was no longer done.

It makes you wonder if any of your ancestors ever sent or received such a ‘Vinegar Valentine’ ?

Photos: Hateful Vinegar Valentines; Ugly-stop a Clock; Rejecting Cupid; and a Nosey Person; and in a Camera Rut.

Related Blogs:

Vintage Valentines

Surnames and Valentines

Saving Ancestor’s Valentines

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