Did you know Esther A. Howland is known as the “mother of the American Valentine”? In the 1840’s (when Mineral Point was just beginning to roll) Esther’s father owned a stationery and book store in Worcester, Massachusetts. After receiving a Valentine card made in England, she saw a business opportunity — some say she “harnessed Cupid’s power for commercial purposes.” She crafted a few handmade sample Valentines and asked her brother to take them on his next sales trip. He returned with orders for more than $5,000 in sales! To fulfill the orders, she organized an army of friends and family to crank out the necessary Valentines. Her success as an entrepreneur continued and she eventually founded the New England Valentine Company. Her original, handmade cards are now valuable collectors items.
The sale will be held this Saturday and Sunday (January 25 and 26, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.) in the Cabinet Shop at Shake Rag Alley. Each of the cards is a unique, hand-crafted piece of art. Prices start at $1.00, which is a pretty good deal for original art. And if that’s not enough to draw you in, there will also be handmade sweets and goodies available.
Who knows, one of the cards you buy may become a valuable collectors item!
– Contributed by the Hays