Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Countdown to Valentine's Day: Part III

Today, I've like to share three lovely Victorian-era Valentine's Day popup cards from my grandmother's collection.

The inside of the first card is tough to read once it's opened. As you can see, on the front it says, "To Greet my Valentine…" but behind the roses, on the heart,  it says "...With My Best Love." A nice sentiment, indeed. A price of 3¢ can still be seen in pencil on the back of this card. Using an online Inflation Calculator, if we were to adjust this price for inflation, the card would still only be 81¢. Amazing!

As this second example is a love letter from Cupid, himself, I wanted to be sure to share the detail on the front, inside, and back of this marvelous card. The backs on today's other two cards are completely unfinished - just a simple, unattractive brown paper. But in this instance, no expense was spared on all surfaces. I wish I knew how much this cost back then. The assemblage is elaborate and obviously very durable. It's lasted a very long time.

The final image for today is an elaborate popup "To my Sweet Valentine." Once folded open, Cupid's message along the bottom says:

My hope,
my heaven,
my trust must be.

My gentle guide,
in following thee.

I'm not sure of the significance of the anvil on this card. I found some interesting information about blacksmiths and their association with weddings in Scotland through the famous Gretna Green marriages. Perhaps this is why an anvil takes center stage on this greeting?

Here’s a little bit of detail from Wikipedia; (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gretna_Green) 

The local blacksmith and his anvil have become the lasting symbols of Gretna Green weddings. Scottish law allowed for “irregular marriages”, meaning that if a declaration was made before two witnesses, almost anybody had the authority to conduct the marriage ceremony. The blacksmiths in Gretna became known as “anvil priests”.
Gretna’s famous “runaway marriages” began in 1753 when Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act was passed in England; it stated that if both parties to a marriage were not at least 21 years old, then parents had to consent to the marriage. The Act did not apply in Scotland where it was possible for boys to marry at 14 and girls at 12 years old with or without parental consent. Many elopers fled England, and the first Scottish village they encountered was Gretna Green. The Old Blacksmith’s Shop, built around 1712, and Gretna Hall Blacksmith’s Shop (1710) became, in popular folklore at least, the focal tourist points for the marriage trade. The Old Blacksmith’s opened to the public as an attraction as early as 1887.