Curator's Corner Blog

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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!