Photo of the Week
FROM THE SCHS LIBRARY ARCHIVES
“How shall we know it is us without our past?”
– John Steinbeck
Valentine Postcard, Riverhead / 1910
by Wendy Polhemus-Annibell, Head Librarian
“To My Valentine” Postcard, Riverhead, 1910. (From the Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society Library Archives. Image copyright © Suffolk County Historical Society. All rights reserved.)
This postcard from our collection was sent anonymously on the morning of Valentine’s Day 1910, from the Rivehead Post Office, to Miss Allamay Hallock of Sound Avenue in Riverhead.
Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, and the United States. Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” Howland made elaborate creations with lace, ribbons, and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Ready-made cards became an easy way for people to express their emotions at a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates and the one-cent postcard era at the turn of the twentieth century also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.