But during the mid-1800s, Dr. Josiah Smith of Boonsboro received a card less given to gushing and more into rushing.
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Authored by an anonymous young woman living in Washington, D.C., the handwritten message encouraged the gentleman to make up his mind in choosing his wife — and hopefully, he would choose her.
Whether she became his bride is a mystery.
But more than a 150 years later, the card and its sentiments have survived, offering a glimpse into expressions of love and courtship from another era — something the sender, simply signed St. Valentine, would never have imagined.
The card is among several dozen vintage valentines that can be found in the collection of the Washington County Historical Society. Currently, the valentines are not on display.
Spanning the decades — from the 1850s to the 1930s — some are embossed and die-cut into ornate patterns, while others are simpler in design.
But all have been lovingly preserved by their original owners and passed down with care, said Beth Levine, a volunteer who catalogs the society's collections.
Levine said many of the valentines were addressed to local residents, but others are without envelopes, "so while it is likely that the recipients were local at one time or another, it's not always possible to know from the card."
What they all have in common, she said, is a message of love.
"The older cards definitely show love, affection and romantic themes. There are flowers, hearts, cupids, die-cut lace, flourishes and tender mottos incorporated sometimes in great profusion," she said.
The Victorian-era valentines, in particular, are very ornate and colorful, Levine noted.
"When you see photographs from these times, there are shades of gray and the subjects often are somber. These cards prove that people from that era loved glorious color."
According to Levine, some of the valentines appear to be professionally hand-assembled, rather than mass-produced with bindery equipment. Many were printed in Germany.
There also are valentines that feature dimensional layers that were made to fold out "so they might be displayed in all their splendor," Levine said.
And on many of the cards, the senders have composed thoughtful, original love poems in verse.
"The poems respectfully express admiration, loyalty and affection," she said. "They are neatly and legibly written out with absolutely beautiful penmanship. The wonderful thing here is having the privilege of getting such a clear glimpse into the lives of ordinary people so far removed from us in time."
As an example, Levine shared, there are cards addressed to a Miss Eva (Evaline) Doyle "and are full of very earnest love poems postmarked, I believe, from Clear Spring. My own research shows that she became Mrs. Jerome McCleery and was 82 years old when she died in 1917. The mystery is whether she married the author."
While many of the cards from the 1920s and 1930s are not as ornate, Levine said they are charming in their period illustrations and captions.