June 18, 2015 Sarah Ashlock
Ephemera can really make your heart swoon!
Sandra Stelts, Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts at the Pennsylvania State University Libraries, has written a delightful article about sweet World War I valentines:
In The Eberly Family Special Collections Library at the Penn State Libraries there is a series of broadsides that were produced for the American Fund for French Wounded, which was founded in 1915 by American women living abroad to purchase medical supplies and provide relief to wounded soldiers in France during World War I. As the war dragged on, the group expanded to help rebuild French homes and buy supplies. The examples shown here were all produced for the Indianapolis Branch under the title French Relief Fund, and they depict scenes from the home front and the battlefront, accompanied by humorous poems.
A detailed drawing displays vibrant patriotism while also sending a message of love. Not only are the images endearing, but Stelts' connection with making these ephemeral discoveries is quite charming:
It’s particularly satisfying to thumb through a pile of greeting cards at an antique store and discover a favorite category of valentine, such as those produced for servicemen and women.
Learn more about the history of these valentines at The New Antiquarian.
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