Wednesday 13 February 2013

Valentines: more resources

It is valentine season again and time to highlight collections both here at the Bodleian and elsewhere.

This year, I have joined with the National Valentine Collectors Association to focus on the valentines of Eugène Rimmel.  My own contribution is a small virtual exhibition about Rimmel's advertising and his association with the Theatre on my blog: The John Johnson Collection Now and Then.  Nancy Rosin has devoted the winter issue of The Valentine Writer (the journal of the National Valentine Collectors Association) to an excellent article on Rimmel (available as a pdf) and Malcolm Warrington has created a beautiful online exhibition.  There are also posts about Comic valentines (and the 200th anniversary of De La Rue) on the UK Ephemera Society's Facebook page.

Also from the other side of the Atlantic, many thanks to Nancy Rosin for recommending The Virtual Museum of Canada, which has a virtual exhibition:  Valentine's Day:  love and romance through the ages, complete with the facility to open and rotate three-dimensional pop-up valentines (in QTVR files) and to create and send valentines from a museum object, card or artefact  for electronic delivery.  A lot of fun, but also solid information about the history not only of valentine cards, but of other love offerings.There are 1229 hits for valentines from various Canadian institutions in the image gallery.

(C) Virtual Museum of Canada

Back in Britain, The Museum of London has put online 1788 valentines, manufacturers' sample sheets and related material, mostly from the prestigious Jonathan King Collection. Jonathan King was a valentine maker in Essex Road, London and this collection gives a wonderful and invaluable insight into the manufacturing process. As well as complete valentines, there are proofs with annotations made in the workshop, relating to design and price, stock number etc. Each item is captioned and dated.  There is also a blog: The more unusual valentines in our collection.

(C) Museum of London

 The Discover pages of the (new) Library of Birmingham include introductions to the history of valentines, and to Comic valentines, with two galleries featuring sentimental and comic cards from their collections.  Similar pages are devoted to Birthday cards, Greetings cards illustrated by Kate Greenaway, Silk embroidered postcards, First World War song cards, and Miscellaneous greetings cards.

(C) Library of Birmingham

Hull Museums also have a large collection of valentines.

(C) Hull Museums

(C) The British Postal Museum & Archive

The British Postal Museum and Archive has a fascinating online exhibition Passion through the post highlighting its collections and outlining the history of the valentine, from the perspective of the postal historian.Their valentines are catalogued, with 892 hits for a  simple search for valentine, some accompanied with thumbnail images.