Monday, February 18, 2013

The Mother of the American Valentine

This is the valentine’s box my granddaughter made for school last week, and she was over the moon with all the wonderful valentines she received. Valentine’s Day and boxes have special memories for many of us, so while I hope you are all still enjoying the after effects of last week, I thought I’d share Ester Howland’s valentine success story.

When Ester was 19 years old, and had just graduated college, a friend of her fathers sent her an intricate valentine card from England. The year was 1847 and Ester was intrigue with the idea of creating similar cards and starting her own business. Her father, Southworth Howland, owned a book and stationery store in Worchester, Massachusetts, and ordered the supplies she needed to start her adventure from England and Germany.

Ester assembled twelve different valentines and gave them to her brother (who worked as a traveling salesman for their father) hoping he would return with $200 worth of orders. To her amazement he returned with $5,000 worth of orders. Ester recruited friends and family to assist her and used the third floor of her family’s home as her assembly line workshop. Pictured is an Ester Howland card from 1850.

The New England Valentine Company was born, and at the peak of the company’s success annual sales topped $100,000. The company’s valentines became renowned throughout the United States and Ester was dubbed the Mother of the American Valentine. After many successful years of business, she sold her company in 1881.  

As a late valentine, I'm giving away a paperback copy of my book that releases tomorrow!  
Inheriting a Bride

Kit Becker travels to Nevadaville prepared to use any pretense necessary to discover why she must share her inheritance, and with whom.  
Clay Hoffman knows a thing or two about money-grabbing females, so when he finds one posing as his new ward, he's determined to get beneath every delicious layer of her disguises. Discovering she's telling the truth, Clay is torn--he should be protecting her, not thinking about making her his bride! All he knows for sure is that he's inherited a whole heap of trouble!

Either leave a comment on this post (along with your email address for me to contact the winner) or if you prefer, send me an email (Lauri at izoom dot net). I'll draw the winner's name on Saturday.


Caroline Clemmons said...

Your book sounds like a great read. Congratulations on its release. Hope I win.

Alison E. Bruce said...

Amazing how a cottage business spawned a huge industry. I think Valentine's Day cards are only outsold by Mother's Day cards in North America.

Very interesting, Lauri.

L.B.Shire said...

Loved your granddaughters Valentines box! Congratulations on your newest release, wishing you many sales :)

mesadallas said...

Your book sounds lovely and I sure hope you draw my name!

Meg said...

Wow, what a great story! Thanks - I didn't know there was a "mother" of Valentine's Day cards.

Lauri said...

Thanks all, I'm glad you enjoyed the Mother of Valentine's Day post. Granddaughter picked a name from these and the emails. Mesadallas you won. I'll be sending you an email. I'll be giving away another book over at The Sweethearts of the West blog this week.

mesadallas said...

Yipee! Please thank your granddaughter for me!

mesadallas said...

Plus I'll be sure to write a review for you on amazon!