Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Valentines Manufactured by Esther Howland

Portrait of Esther Howland.
      It was a girl who started the business of manufacturing valentines for sale in the United States -- a most enterprising girl named Esther Howland, who had just been graduated from Mount Holyoke seminary and resided with her father in Worcester, Mass. In 1849 she received from England a manufactured valentine, the first she had ever seen. It interested her so much that she decided to see whether she could make some of these valentines and find a sale for them. With lace paper cut-out pictures and printed verses the manufactured several samples and gave them to her brother to take out on the road to show customers when he went on his trip for their father's stationary business. To her amazement, her brother returned with orders for $5,000 worth of valentines. Miss Howland, of course, was quite unable to carry out the orders herself, but she called her young women friends to her assistance, and they immediately started what later developed into a very large and prosperous valentine manufacturing plant. In a few years they were sending out $100,000 worth of valentines each season.

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