Roses are read, violets are blue, happy Valentine’s Day from Galveston in 1902


When I was a good deal younger part of the practice of Valentine’s Day was to compose a verse for that special someone. Those of us with tin ears and very little imagination labored mightily and generally produced some rhyme on par with the title of this post – hardly anything for the ages. In 1902 Valentine’s day was generally celebrated by sending penny post cards, yes they only cost a penny, with a penny stamp, again, yes, that was all the postage required. We have gone through the Galveston Daily News from cover to cover for the month of February 1902 and have found no advertisements for flowers, candy, diamonds, cruises, cars [in all fairness…] or any of the other outlandish requirements deemed necessary to prove affection today. In fact, other than after the fact notice of several receptions and dances held, there was no advertising associated with the “holiday” published in the News. The only holiday of note celebrated in February was Washington’s birthday – Lincoln’s was not celebrated in the South until AFTER WWII!

This did not mean that the day was not observed. It was popular but simple and we have attached a sample of the Valentine’s Day cards found in Margaret Edythe Young’s album in order that you may enjoy them. Most are from family and friends and consistent with so many of the cards she received most advise of a letter to come or ask for a letter with news from her. We hope you enjoy them.

Sent from a friend in Beaumont

Hand delivered by a Galveston friend

From a college room-mate

All of the cards feature flowers but none feature roses...

From a favorite uncle.

Sent from Chicago with the promise of a letter to come.

Those of you who are used to getting 3,000 or more words a week will have to console yourself with the pictures this time. I couldn’t write Valentine’s fifty years ago and I still can’t but please enjoy the bouquet of cards from a century ago.

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