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Wistariahurst Museum to host antique valentine making event

Feb. 6, 2013 |

HOLYOKE – On Feb. 10 from 1 to 3 p.m., come to Wistariahurst Museum, 238 Cabot St., for this fun and creative program that will inspire the artist in everyone. In 1847, the year she graduated from Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, Esther Howland of Worcester, received her first Valentine's Day card. She was so pleased with this English novelty that she tried making some valentines of her own. With the help of her brother, a salesman who carried her cards with him along with his other samples, she received $5,000 worth of orders her first year in business. Howland was able to handle the large volume of orders by employing friends and using "assembly-line" techniques for the production of her cards. Her cards were covered with an array of linen lace, colored paper, hand-painted birds and flowers and hand-inscribed, rhymed messages. Howland found herself a true businesswoman by the end of 1849. She continued to make valentines for two decades. She eventually would profit $50,000 to $100,000 annually from the sale of her cards. Howland's business success made her one of America's first "modern woman." Participants are invited to channel their inner Howland by creating their own beautiful, unique card for special friends, family and sweethearts. Antique valentines, bygone love poems and enchanting phrases will be on display for inspiration. Reservations for the workshop are suggested. The cost is $5 per person. For more information, call Wistariahurst Museum at 322-5660 or visit www.wistariahurst.org.

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