Although most of us know it only as a modern, thoroughly commercialized holiday, newspaper stories and ads are proof that Valentine’s Day was popular with the young, the sentimental and those whose businesses catered to them well over 100 years ago.
In 1895, a not-so-sentimental writer for The Allentown Democrat commented that “the day this year is likely to be quite as much observed in the sending of love and comic missives as heretofore, and the letter-carriers will doubtless as usual be heavily loaded down, and the city post office as thoroughly besieged by dirty-faced boys and girls as on similar occasions in the years gone by.”
By 1912, in a story headlined “Valentine Day as popular as ever,” a writer for The Morning Call in Allentown commented that there was no shortage of Valentine’s cards to choose from in stores in the city. The celebration of the day was still largely confined to the sending (and receiving) of such messages, and did not yet include the elaborate gift-giving and dining/travel with which it is associated today.
“The post card valentine has become very popular and many of them really are works of art,” the writer muses, before going on to note that there don’t seem to be as many “funny” Valentine’s day cards circulating among the public as in years past.
Lastly, consider the advertisement below, which appeared in the Feb. 12, 1910 edition of The Morning Call. Young lovers were encouraged to “be quick” about making their card purchases as they were “going out fast.”
Olden Days is a Saucon Source column in which we examine historic newspaper articles from and about the Lehigh Valley. Submit ideas for it to email@example.com.
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