Curator's Corner

Will You Be Our Valentine?

Are you sharing today with someone special? Did you buy a box of paper Valentines for your little one to pass out to all her classmates? Commercially printed Valentines have been around since at least the 1840s, and the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula has many from different eras in its collection.

As with most things, the graphic style of Valentines changed over time, and these cards are a charming throwback to the early 20th century.

Courtesy of the Gail Owen Collection (1977.051)

Courtesy of the Gail Owen Collection (1977.051)

Courtesy of the Gail Owen Collection (1977.051)

The practice of sending humorous cards on Valentine’s Day dates to the mid-19th century. This young man is “stuck” — on his Valentine and also on some fly paper.

Courtesy of the Gail Owen Collection (1977.051)

Some Valentines in the collection wear their hearts on their sleeves, though. Poetry never hurts when trying to win the love of a lady!

Courtesy of the University of Montana Mansfield Library Collection (1995.061)

The poem reads, “Please have me for a partner, do, Oh, Kitty, dear, I love but you!”

Many of the museum’s cards were donated by a teacher who kept the Valentines sent to her by her students. They offer a sweet look at how children celebrated Valentine’s Day in years past.

Courtesy of the Norma Green Collection (1996.020)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

About The Collections Department

We live and breathe the collection. It is our job to know the who’s, what’s, where’s, and why’s of the thousands of artifacts placed into our care. What you see on display at a museum doesn’t even scratch the surface of what’s stored in the basement.

6 thoughts on “Will You Be Our Valentine?

  1. Laurente

    Kristina – Dan & Melissa,What a beautiful coulpe you make. John and I (Phoenix parents) are so sorry that we could not attend your wedding. First of all we never did receive the invitation and 2nd something came up and we could not make it. I am so glad that Sondra forwarded me these pictures. You looked awesome. I love the old car in the picture. My grandfather had a 1930 Model A Ford that he restored that I had my senior pictures taken in. That was amazing with the black and white that they did.CONGRATULATIONS!!! May you have many years together.We love you and are proud of what you are doing for the Lord.John and Kristina Allen(Phoenix Parents)

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