St. Valentine’s Day with all of its colorful lore was taken to the New World by the English settlers and lost none of its romantic appeal through the journey. Greeting-cards, usually hand-made by talented colonists, were works of art and beauty. Original verses appeared in carefully panned script on hand-painted cards, and for those unable to write their own verses a printed collection provide ready-made texts for any situation, with answers included.
Later cartoons and grotesque drawings replaced the overly romantic valentines and parodies and sardonic rhymes were substituted for sentimental verses. Although the comic valentine has now disappeared and greeting-cards again express affection, the saccharine sentimentality is gone also and the messages are light, gay and sometimes humorous.
Loveland, Colorado, is known as a “sweetheart of a town in the Rockies”. Each year as Valentine’s Day approaches the Loveland post-office has to recruit a staff of volunteers to help dispatch the 100000 valentines sent from all over the United States for re-mailing. When the valentines leave Loveland, in addition to an imprint of Loveland’s romantic-sounding name they bear a picture of cupid wearing a ten-gallon hat, a heart – shaped brand with the letter “L” and the following verse:
“Cupid work your magic
From your secret mountain shrine,
And touch your wand of romance
To each lover’s valentine.”
The volunteers carefully hang-stamp Cupid and the poetry on each envelope before sending it out as valentine.