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1893 Valentine's Day Gifts

Here’s what ladies expected for Valentine’s Day in 1893, according to Ladies’ Home Journal:

Number one was a bouquet of flowers, particularly clusters of one type such as roses, lilies of the valley, daffodils, or white lilacs. The author of the 1893 article also mentioned “bonbons … sent in fancy boxes …” possibly with a message like “the hackneyed ‘sweets to the sweet.’” They also wrote that fans were usual Valentine’s Day gifts that could be very beautiful and useful. Also books were favorite Valentine selections, which could be love stories or love poems, but they said “any favorite book cannot fail to please.” And of course, they wrote: “jewelry will always be in vogue for valentine presents.” Some other novelties included heart shaped pin cushions, writing tablets, and stationary!


Roses, 1890

Vincent van Gogh

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1993.400.5


Brooches, Pendants, No. 1

Rauner Manuscript MS-674

Jaques and Marcus

1890-1910

Pleated Fan, 1869–80

Cooper Hewitt Museum

1920-19-35

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1868.

Rare Book and Special Collections

Division, Library of Congress (027.01.00)