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.