Need Valentine Help? Richardson’s Valentine Writer is the answer!
In 1828, British publisher Thomas Richardson provided the gentlemen of England a twenty-six page pamphlet full of Valentine’s Day samples to use in conducting affairs of the heart. As often seen with publications from the days of yore, the title is recorded from the whole front page and extraordinarily long— Richardson’s New London fashionable gentleman’s valentine writer, or, The lover’s own book for this year: Containing a very choice selection of original and popular valentines with appropriate answers
. . . or as the illustration page below better sums up, Richardson’s New Valentine Writer
Thanks to The Internet Archive, the entire pamphlet can be read. LINK HERE. Richardson later published a similar pamphlet for the ladies (alas, not archived) titled Cupid’s festival of love, containing all the most popular new and elegant valentines. As it happens, such “letter-writers” or advice books instructing readers in forms of correspondence proliferated in the UK and US during the 18th and 19th centuries. These types of books were not exclusive to Valentine’s Day, the form letters covering a wide range of topics such as calling in a physician, declining a social engagement, soliciting employment, or refusing a marriage proposal.
Historians suspect the Valentine declarations of love found in Richardson’s New Valentine Writer – and the other publications which followed – were probably meant as amusing social satire rather than a source of true help. How often the letters, or responses of compliance or rejection, were actually used in social situation remains unknown. Probably rarely, although quite a few are very poetic, such as the example page below.
Several pages contain Valentine love letters written in the voice of gentlemen with specific occupations. These texts, especially with the “answer” from the intended lady, are almost certainly meant to amuse.
Richardson ends his little booklet with a short, sweet, and hopeful Valentine that even to our modern ears would do quite well indeed. Might be just what YOU are looking for to dazzle your special someone on the Valentine’s Day.
Hmmm! Long gone are the days when I got a huge padded card full of loving words! Perhaps I should have saved them, especially as I’m a noted hoarder but alas, even I don’t keep things that long! I do however still have the hooded shawl I crocheted while expecting my first baby. Luckily she was a girl as it certainly didn’t look half as good on my son! I also have the blanket I made after I taught myself to crochet in 1971! I bought cheap end of line balls of wool mixed with pulled out knitted items no longer in use. My children used it often when they were little and my grandsons love the ones I made for them, if they feel poorly grandma’s blanket certainly helps!
It does get hard to keep everything as time goes on. I have boxes of things in storage, which I do go through now and again to enjoy the memories. I figure it is worth keeping, and after I am gone my kids can decide what to keep and what to throw away. I won’t care then, LOL!! I do know from losing both my parents now, that even the most mundane things are precious. I have a huge box of baby garments my mom crocheted. My kids wore them, and I saved for grandkids, which I don’t have and doubt I’ll get, but they are still priceless treasures.