Giving romantic Valentine's Day cards slowly came into fashion during the 18th century, but they were mostly DIY affairs at the time. By the end of that century, pre-printed cards began to appear, and once the printing and manufacturing technologies of Victorian Britain picked up, the Valentine card industry boomed. Not all sentiments were romantic—some were downright rude—but the tradition of giving friends and loved ones cards has only continued to grow (Americans will spend more than $1 billion on cards each year). Below are 25 cards from years past.
1. "My Only Love"
For the couple who fancies themselves a Victorian-era Romeo and Juliet.
This one comes across a bit needy.
3. "Dearest Tis Sweet To Loving Hearts"
If only February 14 were so sunny and green.
4. "O Birdie, Pray Lead Us"
How, and why, did these two young lovers harness a bird?
5. "I Found the Traitor Petal"
This person cheated at the old "he loves me, he loves me not" game.
6. "Cupid Hides"
Opening the heart revealed a cherubic surprise.
7. "I Know Your Name"
Secret admirer, or stalker?
8. "MY Heart's Been Teed By You"
For the pun-loving golfer in your life.
9. "To My Valentine"
Better hope the recipient likes winged babies.
10. "Morning Glory"
For the valentine who knows pictures are worth 1000 words.
11. "I Am Thirsty"
The thirst is real.
12. "My Life Will Be an Awful Flop"
All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't make this valentine any less desperate.
13. "I Believe in Freedom of the Press"
A double entendre for the staunch First Amendment supporter in your life.
14. "Big Boy"
Let's hope she's made up her mind and given her valentine a new nickname.
She does not look impressed.
16. "I Believe in Womens' Rights"
For your favorite feminist.
17. "Faithful as Ever"
Why is she riding a deer? We'll never know.
18. "A Bear for Punishment"
Seems like they have a complex relationship.
The child looks hauntingly ghostly.
20. "Just Peekin in"
Here's one for the pun-loving Pekingese owner in your life.
Hey there yourself, cowboy.
22. "Be a Little Lamb"
This sheep looks utterly unwell.
23. "Don't Juggle My Heart"
Creepy clowns are unlikely to win many hearts.
The squirrel looks oddly angry.
25. Please Be 'Frank'"
The hot dog pun almost makes up for the kid's bad haircut.