With this time of year, comes a variety of emotions surrounding the impending Valentine holiday. Whether you’re bitter and lonely or twitterpated in love, I don’t know any person who can’t help but smile when you see a good old fashioned, kid’s Valentine’s Day card.  This inspired me to drum up a collection of some of my favorite kitschy cards and intriguing vintage V-day greetings.

 


To start, a little sprinkling of history: Paper Valentines are as old as the holiday itself. Since the very first traces of the February 14th ritual we now call Valentine’s Day, loved ones have been exchanging handmade greetings and love notes with one another. The Valentine Card zoomed into the modern age with the introduction of mass-produced cards and grew in popularity thanks to a reduction in postage rates around 1840.

 

As much as I love the Care Bear and Saved by the Bell themed cards I exchanged as a kid, in my humble opinion, the golden age of Valentine’s Day cards was in… of course, the 1940s and 50s. This was when the popularity of school children exchanging Valentines swept the holiday. With this new tradition, a new crop of kitschy, kid themed cards were born. Compared to the more pop-culture driven cards kids exchange today featuring Hannah Montana or Bieber Fever , or whatever the kids are into these days, these old cards are so much more clever and childlike. They also serve as great snap shots of the time, showcasing popular fashion, culture and mindsets of the time. Most are quaint and cute but others prove in hindsight to be highly inappropriate and racially insensitive.

 

Most cards featured cheesy puns and tiny tykes in cutesy costumes, as well as animals.

                              

 

 

Food items also seemed to be a mighty popular theme.

 

Here a handful that reflect some popular themes in 50s pop culture such as Rock N’ Roll, space exploration and western cowboy shtick.

Warning: Please don't be offended by this batch. Below are some of the cards that skated the line of what would be considered tasteless or culturally insensitive today, while some were just down-right racist. Unfortunately these cards reflect the horrifying narrow-mindedness and widely accepted racial clichés of the time.  Again, I do not condone any of the statements in these cards but I feel they serve as an interesting example of what was considered “acceptable” at the time and how far we come culturally since the 50s.

 There's really no way to categorize this one, but I thought it was so shockingly interesting I had to post it!!

 

So if your Valentine is on a diet or your wallet is a bit thin for a diamonds, I suggest sending one of these vintage cuties. Simply Google search “1950s Valentines Card” and find the perfect one for all your friends and lovers. With endless themes and puns, it’s a lot of fun to pick and send an electronic Vintage V-day Greeting. 

<3 Lori Anne

                                                                                                                         

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Comment by Natalie Paddycakes on February 6, 2013 at 4:41pm

Thank you so much for posting this, so sweet and a fun snapshot of the era.  Is it terrible I kinda love the racist ones? :P

And that poor, poor skunk. 

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