Comic Valentine, "A Political Scamp," circa 1890

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 1890

Collection Title

Greeting Card Collection 

 On Exhibit

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Object ID

86.9.32.18

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Material

Paper (Fiber product)

Technique

Printing (Process)

Color

Multicolored

Dimensions

Height: 9.75 in

Width: 7.25 in

Inscriptions

printed on front: A POLITICAL SCAMP. You'd pose as a statesman, you swaggering tough, And try hard to awe us with bunkum and bluff; Of political principles, you talk quite glib, But all that you're after is the Public Crib; You can stuff ballot-boxes, or pack a caucus, But into believing you honest, you never could talk us.

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