Comic Valentine, "Book-Keeper," circa 1855

Summary

From the 1840s into the early 1900s, some people sent inexpensive Valentine's Day greetings that chided, warned, or insulted the recipient. An exaggerated, often garish cartoon and short verse described and dismissed someone's looks, intelligence, personality, or behavior. Within the atmosphere of a festive holiday, under the cover of humor, these "vinegar valentines" were acceptable critiques of behaviors that deviated from social norms.

From the 1840s into the early 1900s, some people sent inexpensive Valentine's Day greetings that chided, warned, or insulted the recipient. An exaggerated, often garish cartoon and short verse described and dismissed someone's looks, intelligence, personality, or behavior. Within the atmosphere of a festive holiday, under the cover of humor, these "vinegar valentines" were acceptable critiques of behaviors that deviated from social norms.

Artifact

Comic valentine

Date Made

circa 1855

Creators

Unknown

Collection Title

Greeting Card Collection 

 On Exhibit

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Object ID

89.0.540.688

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Material

Paper (Fiber product)

Technique

Printing (Process)

Color

Multicolored

Dimensions

Height: 8.188 in

Width: 6.125 in

Inscriptions

printed on front: BOOK-KEEPER. How easily one can tell by your looks, You are a blotter of ink, and a writer on books, 'Tis very strange, though your wages are small, You oft visit Burton's, to a trot, or a ball, But money you'll have, no matter how ill, If not by fair means you must rob the till.

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