To wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day, we thought we’d share this 1950s children’s Valentine depicting a strongman and his weightlifting pooch. The card, collected by Jan and Terry Todd, is one of several dozen twentieth-century greeting cards in their collection depicting children as weightlifters.
Measuring only 2.5 x 4 inches, the card was in all likelihood part of a set of “classroom Valentines” that were exchanged by children at school. These kinds of cards were sold in boxes containing 15 to 20 (or more) different scenes and messages, and for those who remember them (as I do), part of the fun was matching your classmates to the image and sentiment suggested by the card. This card bears no copyright date, is unsigned, and its original envelope is still with it.
The sending of Valentines in America goes back well into the 1700s, but mass-produced, brightly colored, “die-cut” cards like this one were not made until the early twentieth century. Despite the rising use of Facebook and other online methods to send birthday and holiday greetings, the American Greeting Card Association reports that Americans sent more than 6 billion greeting cards through the mail in 2019. While more than 145 million Valentine cards were purchased last year, thousands of women also sent Galentine’s Cards to arrive by February 13 to commemorate their special female friendships. We hope we’ll be adding strongwoman Galentine’s cards to the Stark Center collections soon.
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