Did you know that the American valentine industry started right here in Worcester in 1848? That America’s first mass-produced valentines were designed by a woman named Esther Howland in her workshop on Summer Street? That Victorians ate conversation hearts? That Valentine’s Day greetings were part of a larger cultural debate in early America about love’s relationship to marriage? The American Antiquarian Society has much to teach us by way of Valentine’s Day lore. Among its collections are valentines designed by Esther Howland and secondary source material on the history of valentines in America.
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