Follow Up to the History of Valentine’s Day
Last week I wrote a post about the history of Valentine’s Day and learned we had a “Mother of Valentine, “Esther A Howland. I found her very interesting considering she was born in a time before women basically had rights and as a result the odds were not in her favor. Despite that, Esther persevered and moved forward with her vision. Below are some of the highlights of Esther’s lifetime accomplishments below:
- 1828 Esther was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her parents were Southworth Allen Howland and Esther Howland.
- Her Father, owned the largest stationary and bookbindery business in Worcester, Massachusetts.
- Esther attended college at Mount Holyoke Academy the same time as Emily Dickinson did.
- 1847 Esther graduated college at the age of 19 and received a Valentine card from one of her father’s friends which was decorated with lace and cut out flowers. During this time, Valentine Day Cards were imported from Europe into the States.
- Esther loved the card and thought she could do better. She talked to her father and he bought her supplies to make her own cards. She created a dozen designs.
- Esther gave the samples to her brother for his next sales trip for their father’s business. She hoped for $200 in sales which would be worth around $6,380 today. But to her surprise he returned with over $5,000, worth $159,501 today.
- Esther knew she couldn’t handle these orders by herself so she employed friends, primarily women who were said to have been paid liberally and had pleasant working conditions. She used a guest bedroom on the 3rd floor of her home for her new business. She set up an assembly line to create the cards and inspected each one.
- 1850 The Worcester Spy published the first advertisement for Esther’s Valentine Cards and she became officially known as a businesswomen.
- 1870 Esther incorporated her business, New England Valentine Company (N.E.V.Co).
- In red ink, Esther began stamping the letter “H” and price on the back of her cards. She also included in red ink, the letters for her company “N.E.V.Co.”
- Esther’s business grossed $100,000 annually the equivalent of $3,190,024 today.
- Esther expanded her business and made cards for Birthdays, Christmas and New Years. She also created May Baskets and Booklets.
- 1866 Esther suffered a knee injury and became bound to a wheelchair.
- 1874 Esther moved her Valentine factory from her home to Harrington Corner.
- Esther passed away in 1904 at the age of 76. Although she was considered “The Mother of Valentine” she never married.
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“I never dreamed about success, I worked for it.” ~ Estee Lauder