Celebrating Lovers’ Day over the years

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Card from Dr. Russo collection

On Monday, Feb. 14, more than 151 million Valentine’s Day cards will be sent to and received from husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers and significant others across the country. Of those millions of cards, I wonder how many will be intact a hundred years from now. The Salmon Brook Historical Society has a fairly large collection of Valentine cards dating from the late 19th century to the early 20th century with delightful verses to match.

One of our former members, Polly Hall, had a relative who was born in 1878 and starting teaching school at age 16. Hall gave her relative’s collection of home-made valentines to the Salmon Brook Historical Society in 1970. In the cards were cute little verses such as:

When you are old and cannot see, put on your spec’s and think of me.

Another home-made valentine was a cut out heart with five little hearts dangling from it, reading:

Five little hearts to send to you

I think you’d like this big one too,

And don’t you think it would be fine

To be my own sweet valentine.

Dr. Russe, a retired optometrist, found century-old valentines in the attic above his office and graciously donated those valentines to the society in 2006.

One such valentine from daughter to her mother reads:

I’ll send this with my dearest love,

To you my dear mother mine

To tell you that I’ll always be your faithful valentine.

Another valentine from one friend to another:

Please accept this loving token

From a little friend so true

There is no one that I play with,

That is half as nice as you.

Yet another valentine verse:

A token of affection creating to my valentine,

I have come to call

To ask if I can call you mine,

I like you best of all.

Another fond note from a Westfield friend:

To; Mrs. Crouse, from your Westfield friend, Alvin:

Oh, this would be a happy day,

If you would but be mine,

And if you’d kindly say,

You be my valentine.

Amongst the cards Dr. Russe had, was also a small Valentine’s Day envelope letter address to May Ruic in 1882:

I have enclosed here a kiss

For you my dainty little miss,

Keep it safely, close and tight,

I’ll come and get it back tonight.

One of the largest collections of valentines the society received was from Mrs. A. J. Thoren in 1970. Thoren helped run a family store with her husband in North Granby where they sold Valentine’s Day cards. The cards pictured here dated between 1901 and 1908. Thoren would send many of her cards to relatives in Flat Grass, Penn. We were fortunate her cards were saved and given to the Salmon Brook Historical Society.

Perhaps the valentine card you receive from a special person will one day make its way into the collection at the Salmon Brook Historical Society. To learn more about and see these valentine cards, join the Salmon Brook Historical Society by calling 860-653-9713, or visit salmonbrookhistoricalsociety.com

Valentines from Mrs. J.A. Thoren collection
Photos courtesy of Salmon Brook Historical Society