Vintage Valentine Postcards or Find Love at Toronto Public Library : My Heart Pants for You

February 14, 2013 | Bill V.

Comments (2)

I showed my husband Richard this vintage Valentine's Day puzzle postcard image and clever him.....he deciphered it right away. I've seen it described as a graduation card but I think it works as a Valentine's card and according to the postmark on the back it was mailed February 13 1911.   If you can figure out what it says please tweet or leave us a comment on Facebook or on the blog directly ! 

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My mother-in-law died a year ago yesterday. When she was alive we would frequently go visit her at the Mennonite nursing home.  There we would help her and some of the other residents eat their meals.  This was sometimes a difficult thing to do - but always a tender /touching act of love.   I distinctly recall one man saying quite loudly over the din of dinner "perogies are nothing to laugh about" to one of his table mates.   I can only say I agree with him.  I also know that the sausage is something to be taken seriously (esp Cottam sausage from down near Leamington). This next unusual card was mailed February 13 1909 from Flint Michigan. It's a Raphael Tuck and Sons postcard - "Loves Tributes" Series no 5. (Tuck cards are clearly marked on the back of the card).

Valentine sausage list b


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For something a bit more humorous and punny I find this Toronto card from the Valentine Black Co Ltd done maybe circa 1920s/30s charming.  It was never sent though...possibly too risque.

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This next card is typical of the pre WW1 era, printed in Germany, lithograph with embossing and gilding.  I find it pretty - maybe a bit cloying - but it is a romantic dream driven holiday it can be excused.

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This one is a bit more sophisticated - the middle heart shape is cut out of the gilded background and you see red fabric - the card has a more complicated layering design - the front is glued onto a fabric middle and then the back is glued on.  It's Canadian - sent to a Miss Elliot in St John New Brunswick. Done by TR and Co. I wonder if this is a Canadian specific small published?

Who can argue with the message "May Love's Message Pierce Your Heart".

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Valentine's Day seems to be a contest of charming images all vying for attention. This young man in a clown costume with hearts and stars has a very beautiful bouquet of flowers. It was mailed in Toronto to "Master Lloyd Ferrier" of 233 College Street in Toronto in 1909 from his Uncle Jack.

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I finish with one of the most interesting cards in this post - from the estate of Beatric Corrigan. Toronto Public Library is fortunate to have been bequeathed the personal postcard collection of Beatrice Corrigan who was a well known University of Toronto professor.   Toronto Public Library also has an image of the Corrigan family home on 544 St Clair Ave West as part of the Digital Archive. There are others cards from her collection in the Halloween blog post.

Cupid's Ltd - Head Ofice, True Heart Lane, Branches in all countries, Specialists in affairs of the Heart.

Valentine cupids list

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Did you know the Toronto Reference Library has an extensive vintage postcard collection?  You may have read earlier blog posts on our Halloween , Thanksgiving , or Christmas Cats holiday postcards?   Or you may have seen the Remembrance Day post on a WW1 card showing Canadian troops on the French Front.

If you are interested in doing further research you may enjoy the book Vintage postcards for the holidays : identification and value guide.

Vintage postcards for the holidays  identification

If you like early photographs / images / postcards of Toronto and Canada visit the Digital Archive which includes rare historical pictures, maps, manuscripts, ephemera and digitized books from our Special Collections for research, study and discovery.

Toronto Public Library has some of its photo/ephemera collections online at  Pinterest and Flickr as well as many of its past exhibits and displays in virtual exhibitions. Come visit us online or in person.

If you are interested in collecting postcards or knowing more about them did you know that Toronto has it's very own Postcard Club - TPC.   We also carry their official newsletter Card Talk in the Arts Dept of the Toronto Reference Library - 5th floor.