Victorian Valentines at Westfield’s Reeve House
Does Valentine’s Day leave you feeling a little flat? It is supposed to be a day of sharing love and appreciation, but do you ever feel that, like so many other originally good-intentioned things, it’s become a little. . . . . . . commercial? Do you ever long for a back-to-basics means of showing affection for someone on this day of affection? Well, you may be in luck.
This Saturday, the Westfield Historical Society will begin hosting a special exhibit that will run through the first two weekends of February in honor of Valentine’s Day. Area residents can enjoy Victorian valentines in a Victorian home at the Reeve History and Cultural Resource Center, located at 314 Mountain Avenue in Westfield. The Valentines and postcard exhibit is actually on loan from an impressive collection by Jean Groszmann, an avid collector for over two decades. The fascinating and thought provoking collection spans the period from the 1840’s through the 1920’s, and includes valentines and “penny postcards” from America, England, and Germany.
The majority of early Victorian valentines were crafted by hand for a personal, expressive touch of sentiment. They were typically made from honeycombed tissue, watercolors, paper puffs, embossed paper hearts, and exquisite lace available at the time. A far cry from the folded cardboard with the heart stickers that we buy by the box today for our kids to distribute in school. In Victorian times, if you received a valentine, it was a special and momentous moment.
Saturday, Feb. 1st
Sunday, Feb. 2nd
Saturday, Feb. 8th
Sunday, Feb. 9th
In addition to the display, there will be a valentine making workshop for children ages 6-12 on Saturday, February 8, from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM. An adult must accompany each child registered for the workshop, and each child will make a special valentine to take home for a $3.00 fee. Registration for this craft is limited, so be sure to call the Historical Society office at 908-654-1794 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot.
You may walk away with a better appreciation of Valentine’s Day, and the history and love stories behind it!