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The ‘Mom Of The American Valentine’ By no means Married

Worcester, MA, the as soon as-bustling industrial metropolis 45 minutes west of Boston the place I dwell, is enormously happy with its reasonably peculiar record of “famous firsts”, together with barbed wire, shredded wheat, the monkey wrench, the birth management pill, the primary excellent sport in major league baseball, the first liquid-fueled rocket and the ubiquitous yellow Smiley Face icon.

And every year about this time, you hear about how Worcester produced the primary business valentines in this nation thanks to a foresighted younger lady named Esther Howland, recognized as the “Mom of the Valentine.”

Esther Howland (1828-1904) attended Mount Holyoke at the same time as Emily Dickinson. She was the daughter of a profitable Worcester stationer and, in 1847, she received a frilly English valentine that inspired her to ask her father to order supplies from England so that she may assemble her personal. She then convinced her brother, a salesman for the company, to point out a few of her valentines on his gross sales rounds.

The initial demand was overwhelming and Esther gathered a few of her mates to help her assemble stone island polo kids the valentines, seating them round a protracted table on the third floor of her house. The corporate was finally incomes $100,000–a phenomenal success.

Esther is considered significant because, in line with historians, she was among the first commercially successful women overseeing a feminine-run business, and she basically created the assembly-line system, paying the local girls “liberally”. She introduced layers of lace, three-dimensional accordion results, and insisted that the verses be hidden inside–something you had to hunt for. She had her staff mark the back of every valentine with a pink “H”.

In the Victorian era, Valentines had been wildly popular, and the elaborate cards were scrutinized for clues–even the position of the stamp on the envelope meant one thing. Usually the valentine was meant as a marriage proposal.

“The final week has been a merry one in Amherst; notes have flown round like snowflakes. Ancient gentlemen & spinsters, forgetting time & multitude of years, have doffed their wrinkles – in change for smiles…”

In 1879–after 30 years in enterprise–Esther Howland merged with Edward Taft, the son of Jotham Taft, a North Grafton valentine maker. Together they formed the new England Valentine Co. (and their cards were marked “N.E.V.Co.”)

That is where Esther Howland’s title of “Mom of the Valentine” begins to get a little shaky.
It seems, upon much examine, that Edward Taft’s father, Jotham Taft of North Grafton, a small village close to Worcester, started the commercial valentine business in the U.S. even before Miss Howland did, but he didn’t prefer to discuss it, because the Taft family had been strict Quakers and Jotham Taft’s mom sternly disapproved of such frivolity as Valentines. (Full disclosure–I live in North Grafton, about a stone’s throw from where Taft labored.)

In 1836, Jotham Taft married Sarah E. Coe of Rhode Island and two years later, they welcomed twin sons. However in 1840, one of many twins died instantly, leaving Mrs. Taft prostrate with grief. Jotham determined to take his wife and surviving son to Europe with him on a buying trip for the stationer who employed him, and while in Germany, he bought many valentines provides–laces, lithographs, birds and cupids.

When he returned, Taft started making valentines along with his spouse’s assist, and in 1844–three years before Esther Howland graduated from college–he opened a valentine “manufacturing facility” in North Grafton (then referred to as New England Village.) However due to his mother’s disapproval, Taft stone island polo kids by no means put his own name on the valentines–only “Wood” (his center name) or “N.E.V.” for “New England Village”. Some believed that Taft trained Elizabeth Howland as one of his staff earlier than she opened her personal manufacturing facility.

Taft and Howland merged into the new England Valentine Co. in 1879, and a year later Esther’s father became unwell and she left her business to care for him. After he died, she moved in with one among her brothers and she passed away in 1904.Sadly, despite all the couples who presumably discovered their true love thanks to Esther’s creations, the “Mother of the Valentine” never married.

In 1881, George C. Whitney bought the mixed business of Taft and Howland and it grew to become The Whitney Co, which dominated valentine production for many years. Instead of cards laboriously made by hand, Whitney turned to machine- printed valentines and finally added postcards in the 1890’s. The Whitney designs, that includes youngsters who resembled the “Campbell Soup ” children, were wildly standard, although extra typically exchanged by kids than adult lovers, and in 1942 the Whitney manufacturing facility closed, as a result of wartime paper shortages.

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