Sunday, February 4, 2018

Valentines from the 1910s to 1930s – Some Sweet, Some Cute, and Some That Would Be in Questionable Taste Today

 Sweet or sassy, floral or funny, there's a valentine for every person and purpose – even in the early 1900s. Here are a few valentines received in that time by Sarah Eva Howe Salyers and members of her family.

The first card, probably from the 1910s, would raise eyebrows today because of the "mooning" suggestion and the mildly racist slang attributed to the Native American population. Did you notice the swastika symbol in the top corners? I didn't until they were pointed out to me. I didn't know until I researched "swastika in America" that the symbol is one of the world's oldest cross emblems, formed with four "L's" standing for Luck, Light, Love, and Life. It was a good-luck sign for centuries, and Native Americans as well as other segments of the population used it in art, clothing, home decor, and architecture. The symbol was abandoned here when it became associated with the Hitler regime.
The next card, with its caricature of a boy in Chinese attire, could also be considered politically incorrect by today's standards.
The following cards, many of them addressed to Sarah's children, are from the first years of the 1900s through maybe the late 1920s. That's my best guess, as dates are not noted in Sarah's scrapbooks.
The handwriting "He stole all hearts" may have referred to Sarah's youngest child, David, who would have been younger than 5 years old when this card was sent.
Next time, we'll look at valentines that I think are from the 1930s. In the meantime, take a look at some lacy, romantic valentines dating from the late 1880s to 1920. You'll find them in the Happy Valentine's Day post dated February 12, 2017.




1 comment:

ScotSue said...

What a wonderful collection of family valentines, Fran. I did like your introduction (alliteration always appeals to me), and I learnt something with your explanation of the swastika - I never knew that. I have my favourites but they are all lovely in different ways.