MassMoments tells us this morning that in 1849 – the first American-made Valentine cards were created and sold in Worcester, Massachusetts by Mt. Holyoke graduate Esther Howland. Modeled on the English-style Valentine, her fancy designs, embossed, cut and colored paper along with romantic sentiments and hidden messages soon grew into a thriving business. Miss Howland hired women as assemblers, advertised her product and finally moved beyond a home-based business into a downtown location. Because of Esther Howland and her entreprenurial skill – Worcester was the “Valentine Capital of America” well into the 20th century.
…in 1849, the first American-made valentines were sold in Worcester. They were designed and made by Esther Howland, the daughter of a local stationer. After graduating from Mt. Holyoke College, she returned to Worcester and began making valentines modeled on a fancy one she had received from an English friend. Her brother took the samples on a sales trip and came home with an astonishing $5,000 worth of orders. Howland began by hiring her friends to assemble the valentines; within a few years, she built her business into a $100,000 a year enterprise, a notable success for any entrepreneur but a truly remarkable accomplishment for a nineteenth-century woman.
Read the full MassMoments article here. And even more here: http://pastispresent.org/2011/good-sources/%E2%80%9Cmother-of-the-valentine%E2%80%9D-esther-howland-worcester-and-the-american-valentine-industry/
Esther Howland ~ Mother of the American Valentine
For those who like statistics – it is estimated that 180 million valentine cards are exchanged annually and that 85% of valentine cards are bought by women. While 73% of all flowers bought for St. Valentine’s Day are bought by men! Happy St. Valentine’s Day!