Hearts. Flowers. Candy. Cupid.
Those are images that pop into our heads at the mention of Valentine’s Day.
It became common to celebrate the holiday with small gifts and handwritten notes in the middle of the 18th century.
In the 1840s, Esther Howland was the first to sell mass-produced valentines in the United States. As a 19-year-old, she received an English valentine and thought she could easily reproduce it or make a better one. She is now known as “The Mother of the American Valentine.”
By the 20th century, the greeting card industry was actively promoting the Feb. 14th holiday. The Greeting Card Association estimates that 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent worldwide each year.
It also became a fun day in the classroom with schoolchildren delivering little inexpensive cards to each other.
Valentine’s Day and its association with love and romance have spread far and wide. It is said to be the second most-celebrated holiday around the world after New Year’s Day.
+Find this and other From the Archives blogs by Jolene McHugh at blogs.omaha.com/author/jolenemchugh