Who made the first Valentine in the United States?
Had to guess at this one, didn't you?
Correct answer C: Not exactly a household name, but a businesswoman who was definitely ahead of her time, Esther Howland crafted the first U.S.-made valentines in the 1830s. Howland, whose father was a stationer in Worcester, Massachusetts, noticed America’s growing obsession with valentines. Even more surprising, however, was that all valentines were imported from England.
Determined to create a superior American version, the tenacious Mount Holyoke College graduate began importing lace, fine papers and other supplies for her valentines. Howland’s little project grew into a full-scale business, and she hired several assistants as her brothers agreed to help market her “Worcester” valentines. The upscale cards were a rousing success, netting Howland’s company about $100,000 annually—not a bad chunk of change for the 1830s!