Cites & Bytes @ Bailey

a library newsletter, a compendium of interesting tidbits, a communication tool....from Bailey Library @ Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. (Site Feed)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Be My Vinegar Valentine...

Librarian Lynn Hoffmann forwards the following interesting information:

Alexander Graham Bell would be surprised to learn that his Valentine's Day invention, the telephone, is now used to send valentines. (He applied for a patent for the phone on Feb. 14, 1876.) Cell phones, downloads, text messages and even videos handle valentines today. But not all of these talk of love or friendship. Since the 1840s, insulting or comic valentines have been popular. These rude cards were called "vinegar valentines." A 19th-century card was often a single sheet of paper with a satiric engraving. During the last part of the 1800s, romantic lacy valentines were more fashionable. In the 1930s, the "penny dreadful" appeared, a sheet of paper decorated with a colored woodblock print. Favorite jokes were about old maids, the obese, vain, homely, lazy or the talkative woman. Some were so risque they were judged indecent and were refused by the post office. The comic valentine went out of favor in the 1950s, and today they not only cost more than a penny but also offer much milder criticism. Unless you just broke up with your significant other or plan to quit your job, avoid the comic and stick with pleasantries and romance.

Go to to send a very nice vintage Valentine's Day card.