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Valentines Collection, Ca. 1840s-1980s (Bulk: 1890s-1910s)
6 boxes (2.5 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 0843 (LD 7096.6 1847 Howland)

Abstract:
Consists of hand-made and commercially-made valentines from the U.S. and Europe dating from the 1840s to the 1980s from collectors Marjorie Eames, Marguerite A. Davol, Helen Laws, and anonymous donors. Included are three valentines made by Esther Howland, six valentines made by the George Whitney Co., and a few made by Raphael Tuck and Sons, Ernest Nister, and L. Pang. Also included is a scrapbook made in 1880. Rounding out the collection are valentine ephemera and two books on the history of valentines, Valentines: A Loving Remembrance by Jean P. Favalora and A History of Valentines by Ruth Webb Lee.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted.

Restrictions on use:

Unrestricted.

Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

Biographical Note

Esther A. Howland was born in 1826 in Worcester, Massachusetts to Southworth Allen Howland, a stationer and bookseller. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1847. Howland began making valentines in her home in 1849 after receiving an elaborate valentine from England. Her business quickly grew, and she turned her house into a valentine factory. She sold the business to George C. Whitney in 1881. Howland is credited with establishing the commercial valentine industry in the U.S. She died at 78 in 1904 in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Marguerite A. Welcher Davol was born on July 2, 1928 in East Peoria, Illinois. She graduated from the University of Colorado in 1951 with majors in English and Education. Later she did graduate study in American literature at Kansas State University (1953-54), University of Rochester (1956-57), and University of Massachusetts (1966). Davol was a children's author, a poet and a teacher at the Mount Holyoke College Gorse Child Center from 1966-1992. She married Stephen Herbert Davol and they had three children.

Stephen Herbert Davol was born on February 16, 1928 in Malden, Massachusetts to Herbert and Mary Davol. He received a B.A. (1950) and an M.P.S. (1952) in Psychology from the University of Colorado, and a Ph.D. (1958) in Psychology from the University of Rochester. He was a professor of psychology and education at Mount Holyoke College from 1960-1982. He died at 54 on July 8, 1982 in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

Marjorie Eames donated the valentines in the collection in 1993. Her family's business, the Eames and Eames Company of Cohasset, Mass., made and sold hand-painted valentines.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Valentines collection spans the dates 1840s-1980s, with the bulk 1890s-1910s. It is arranged into four series: The Marjorie Eames Collection, The Marguerite Davol Collection, Valentines from Helen Laws, Helen M. Newman and Anonymous Donors, and Books on Valentines. The series reflect the separate collections integrated into one Valentines collection.

The collection contains hand-made and commercially-made valentines from the U.S. and Europe. Some of the manufacturers represented are the George C. Whitney Co., Raphael Tuck and Sons of London, Earnest Nister of Boston, and Hallmark. There is an extensive variety of formats: envelopes, paper lace, postcards, wall hangings, and mechanical pull-downs. Notable are three cards made by Mount Holyoke College alumna Esther Howland who is credited with establishing the commercial valentine industry in the U.S.

The Marjorie Eames collection includes European and American valentines spanning 1840s-1980s, valentine ephemera and an 1880 scrapbook of valentines.

The Marguerite Davol collection chiefly consists of multi-layered paper lace valentines from the 1890s manufactured in Germany and the United States.

The Valentines from Helen Laws, Helen M. Newman and Anonymous Donors include 1890s valentines and envelopes. Included are cards made by Esther Howland and by the George C. Whitney Co.

Included are two books on the history of valentines, A History of Valentines by Ruth Webb Lee and Valentines: A Loving Remembrance by Jean P. Favalora. Both mention Esther Howland and show valentines housed in this collection.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted.

Restrictions on use:

Unrestricted.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Valentines Collection, Archives and Special Collections, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts.

Additional Formats

Selected items from this collection are also available in Early Valentines: An Online Exhibit.

History of the Collection

The valentines in the collection were donated by Marguerite A. Davol, a Mount Holyoke College faculty member, in 1993, Marjorie Eames, a collector, in 1989, Helen Laws, Class of 1910, and anonymous donors. One valentine came from the Memory book of Alice Carter, Class of 1887, donated by Helen M. Newman in 1979. Jean P. Favalora donated her book Valentines: A Loving Remembrance in 1995. A History of Valentines by Ruth Webb Lee was donated by Lee Williams, Class of 1956.

Processing Information

The collection was formerly housed in the Esther Howland Alumnae Biographical file. It was united into one collection and processed in May 2006 by Ralitsa Donkova.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
8 Dwight Hall
50 College St.
South Hadley, MA 01075

Phone: (413) 538-2013
Fax: (413) 538-2370

Email Reference Form: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/lits/library/arch/forms/areq.htm
URL: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/lits/library/arch/
Language
English

Series Descriptions
ca. 1840s-ca. 1980s
3 boxes

Contains valentines spanning 1840s-1980s, valentine ephemera, and a scrapbook. Featured are two cards made by George C. Whitney Co and an array of German stand-up paper lace cards. The series contains an extensive variety of pre-World War I postcards. Many are manufactured by Raphael Tuck and Sons of London and Earnest Nister of Boston. Of special note are the 1850s paper lace envelopes and letters and a heart-shaped valentine drawn by R.F. Outcault manufactured by Raphael Tuck and Sons ca. 1904. Included are a number of German early twentieth century pull-out valentines and wall hangings. The 1950s-1980s cards are mostly American and mass-produced; many are pull-downs. Included are fragments of broken valentines and "swag," little paper embellishments sold in sheets that could be cut out and pasted on to personalize cards. The valentine ephemera include heart-shaped push pins, a chocolates box, heart centerpiece decorations, a small box of "swag," and a small wooden doll. The scrapbook was compiled by an eleven-year old boy, Richard W.A. English, in December 1880 and contains contemporary valentines. Rounding out the series are sketches, articles and newspaper clippings on valentines and the history of valentines.

ca.1870s-ca. 1920s
4 folders

Contains valentines that Marguerite and Stephen Davol collected over the years, and Mrs. Davol donated in February 1993. Chiefly consists of multi-layered 1890s valentines. Some are on the same basic layer, and many are adorned with swag, little paper embellishments sold on sheets that could be cut out and pasted on to personalize cards. Included are German "boxed" valentines from the 1880s that have many layers of paper and fabric that make them three-dimensional, an 1883 valentine by L. Prang and Co. of Boston, an 1893 George C. Whitney book-card, a few cards by Raphael Tuck and Sons of London, and some fragments.

ca. 1890s-1987
11 folders

Contains 1890s valentines and envelopes, including three valentines manufactured by Esther Howland, four valentines by the George C. Whitney Co., and three hand-made cut paper valentines. One valentine came from the memory book of Alice Carter, Class of 1887. Included are 1980s cards produced by Mount Holyoke College and featuring photographs of Howland's valentines housed in the collection. Rounding out the series is a first edition "Love" stamp printed by the United States Postal Service in February 1982.

1952, 1995
2 volumes

Contains two books on the history of valentines, A History of Valentines by Ruth Webb Lee and Valentines: A Loving Remembrance by Jean P. Favalora. Both mention Mount Holyoke alumna Esther Howland as the initiator of the valentines industry in the U.S. Favalora's book is inscribed by the author.

Contents List
Series 1: Valentines from the Marjorie Eames Collection
ca. 1840s-ca. 1980s
3 boxes

Cards,
ca. 1840s-1880s

Box 1: folder 1
Envelopes and letters,
ca. 1850s

Box 1: folder 2
Scrapbook,
December 1880-in Folio

Box 1: folder 3
From scrapbook,
ca. 1880

Box 1: folder 4
Cards,
ca. 1890s

Box 1: folder 5
Cards,
ca. 1890s

Box 1: folder 6
Boxed valentine,
ca. late 1890s-in Folio

Box 1: folder 7
Cards,
ca. 1904, ca. 1906

Box 1: folder 8
Cards printed in Bavaria, Germany,
ca. early 1900s

Box 1: folder 9
Pull-down cards printed in Bavaria, Germany,
ca. early 1900s

Box 1: folder 10
Paper lace cards,
ca. early 1900s

Box 1: folder 11
Paper lace cards,
ca. early 1900s

Box 1: folder 12
Paper lace cards,
ca. early 1900s

Box 1: folder 13
Paper lace cards,
ca. early 1900s

Box 1: folder 14
Cards,
ca. 1910s

Box 2: folder 1
Cards,
ca. 1910s

Box 2: folder 2
Wall hangings,
ca. 1910s

Box 2: folder 3
Wall hangings,
ca. 1910s

Box 2: folder 4
Large mechanical card printed in Bavaria, Germany,
ca. 1912

Box 2: folder 5
Mechanical cards printed in Bavaria, Germany,
ca. 1912

Box 2: folder 6
Postcards,
1902-ca. 1914

Box 2: folder 7
Postcards,
ca. 1900-ca. 1914

Box 2: folder 8
Cards,
ca. 1930s

Box 2: folder 9
Wall hangings,
ca. 1950s

Box 2: folder 10
Pull-down cards, American,
1952-ca. 1960s

Box 2: folder 11
Pull-down cards, American,
ca. 1960s

Box 2: folder 12
Pull-down cards, American,
ca. 1960s

Box 2: folder 13
Pull-down cards, American,
ca. 1960s

Box 2: folder 14
Cards,
1973-ca. 1980s

Box 3: folder 1
Handmade valentine,
ca. 1980s

Box 3: folder 2
Ephemera,
ca. 1900s, ca.1980s-in Folio

Box 3: folder 3
Fragments and other greeting cards,
ca. 1900s-ca. 1970s

Box 3: folder 4
Fragments and other greeting cards,
ca. 1900s-ca. 1970s

Box 3: folder 5
Sketches, articles and clippings,
1853-1973, n.d.

Box 3: folder 6
Series 2: Valentines from the Marguerite A. Davol Collection
ca.1870s-ca. 1920s
4 folders

Cards,
ca. 1870s-ca. 1880s

Box 3: folder 7
Cards,
ca. 1880s

Box 3: folder 8
Cards,
ca. 1890s

Box 3: folder 9
Cards and fragments,
ca. 1900s-ca. 1920s

Box 3: folder 10
Series 3: Valentines from Helen Laws, Helen M. Newman, and Anonymous Donors,
ca. 1890s-1987
11 folders

Cards by Esther Howland
ca. 1870s

Box 3: folder 11
Cards based on Esther Howland's valentines,
1982, 1987

Box 3: folder 12
Photographs of Esther Howland's valentines,
1976, 1982

Box 3: folder 13
Cards by George C. Whitney Co.,
ca. 1890s

Box 3: folder 14
Hand-made cut paper valentines,
n.d.

Box 3: folder 15
Cards in original envelopes,
1895, 1897, ca. 1898, n.d.

Box 3: folder 16
Valentines from memory book of Alice Carter, Class of 1887,
ca. 1887

Box 4: folder 1
Cards,
ca. 1890s

Box 4: folder 2
Cards,
ca. 1890s

Box 4: folder 3
Cards,
ca. early 1900s

Box 4: folder 4
First edition "Love" stamp,
February 1982

Box 4: folder 5
Series 4: Books on valentines
1952, 1995
2 volumes

A History of Valentines by Ruth Webb Lee,
1952

Box 4: folder 6
Valentines: A Loving Remembrance by Jean P. Favalora,
1995

Box 4: folder 7

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • George C. Whitney Company.
  • Greeting Cards--United States.
  • Howland, Esther Allen, 1828-1904.
  • United States--Social life and customs--19th century.
  • Valentines.

Contributors
  • Davol, Marguerite A.
  • Davol, Stephen H.
  • Eames, Marjorie.
  • Ernest Nister.
  • Favalora, Jean P.
  • L. Prang and Co.
  • Lee, Ruth Webb, 1894-.
  • New England Valentine Company.
  • R.F. Outcault.
  • Raphael Tuck and Sons.
  • Whitney, George C., 1842-1915.

Genre terms
  • Scrapbooks.


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