Scope and Contents
The Valentines collection spans the dates 1840s-1980s, with the bulk 1890s-1910s. It is arranged into four series: The Marjorie Eames Collection, The Marguerite Davol Collection, Valentines from Helen Laws, Helen M. Newman and Anonymous Donors, and Books on Valentines. The series reflect the separate collections integrated into one Valentines collection.
The collection contains hand-made and commercially-made valentines from the U.S. and Europe. Some of the manufacturers represented are the George C. Whitney Co., Raphael Tuck and Sons of London, Earnest Nister of Boston, and Hallmark. There is an extensive variety of formats: envelopes, paper lace, postcards, wall hangings, and mechanical pull-downs. Notable are three cards made by Mount Holyoke College alumna Esther Howland who is credited with establishing the commercial valentine industry in the U.S.
The Marjorie Eames collection includes European and American valentines spanning 1840s-1980s, valentine ephemera and an 1880 scrapbook of valentines.
The Marguerite Davol collection chiefly consists of multi-layered paper lace valentines from the 1890s manufactured in Germany and the United States.
The Valentines from Helen Laws, Helen M. Newman and Anonymous Donors include 1890s valentines and envelopes. Included are cards made by Esther Howland and by the George C. Whitney Co.
Included are two books on the history of valentines, A History of Valentines by Ruth Webb Lee and Valentines: A Loving Remembrance by Jean P. Favalora. Both mention Esther Howland and show valentines housed in this collection.
- Creation: ca. 1840s-1980s
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1890 - 1910
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Esther A. Howland was born in 1826 in Worcester, Massachusetts to Southworth Allen Howland, a stationer and bookseller. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1847. Howland began making valentines in her home in 1849 after receiving an elaborate valentine from England. Her business quickly grew, and she turned her house into a valentine factory. She sold the business to George C. Whitney in 1881. Howland is credited with establishing the commercial valentine industry in the U.S. She died at 78 in 1904 in Quincy, Massachusetts.
Marguerite A. Welcher Davol was born on July 2, 1928 in East Peoria, Illinois. She graduated from the University of Colorado in 1951 with majors in English and Education. Later she did graduate study in American literature at Kansas State University (1953-54), University of Rochester (1956-57), and University of Massachusetts (1966). Davol was a children's author, a poet and a teacher at the Mount Holyoke College Gorse Child Center from 1966-1992. She married Stephen Herbert Davol and they had three children.
Stephen Herbert Davol was born on February 16, 1928 in Malden, Massachusetts to Herbert and Mary Davol. He received a B.A. (1950) and an M.P.S. (1952) in Psychology from the University of Colorado, and a Ph.D. (1958) in Psychology from the University of Rochester. He was a professor of psychology and education at Mount Holyoke College from 1960-1982. He died at 54 on July 8, 1982 in South Hadley, Massachusetts.
Marjorie Eames donated the valentines in the collection in 1993. Her family's business, the Eames and Eames Company of Cohasset, Mass., made and sold hand-painted valentines.
1.46 Linear Feet (3 full Hollinger and 1 half Hollinger boxes)
Language of Materials
Consists of hand-made and commercially-made valentines from the U.S. and Europe dating from the 1840s to the 1980s from collectors Marjorie Eames, Marguerite A. Davol, Helen Laws, and anonymous donors. Included are three valentines made by Esther Howland, six valentines made by the George Whitney Co., and a few made by Raphael Tuck and Sons, Ernest Nister, and L. Pang. Also included is a scrapbook made in 1880. Rounding out the collection are valentine ephemera and two books on the history of valentines, Valentines: A Loving Remembrance
by Jean P. Favalora and A History of Valentines
by Ruth Webb Lee.
This collection is organized into four series:
- Valentines from the Marjorie Eames Collection, 1840s-1980s
- Valentines from the Marguerite A. Davol Collection, ca. 1870s-ca. 1920s
- Valentines from Helen Laws, Helen M. Newman, and Anonymous Donors, ca. 1890s-1987
- Books on Valentines, 1952, 1995
History of the Collection
The valentines in the collection were donated by Marguerite A. Davol, a Mount Holyoke College faculty member, in 1993, Marjorie Eames, a collector, in 1989, Helen Laws, Class of 1910, and anonymous donors. One valentine came from the Memory book of Alice Carter, Class of 1887, donated by Helen M. Newman in 1979. Jean P. Favalora donated her book Valentines: A Loving Remembrance in 1995. A History of Valentines by Ruth Webb Lee was donated by Lee Williams, Class of 1956.
Selected items from this collection are also available in Early Valentines: An Online Exhibit.
The collection was formerly housed in the Esther Howland Alumnae Biographical file. It was united into one collection and processed in May 2006 by Ralitsa Donkova.
- Valentines Collection, ca. 1840s-1980s
- Finding aid prepared by Ralitsa Donkova.
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note
Part of the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections Repository
50 College Street
8 Dwight Hall
South Hadley MA 01075-6425 USA