Oddly enough, love and war often do go together and we all know that absence often makes the heart grow fonder, so it’s only natural that the burgeoning greetings card industry would flourish during World War I. In the west, domestic producers had to replace that large part of the market that was previously produced by Germany, and “WWI silks”, embroidered greetings produced in France and Belgium, constituted one of the most important cottage industries of the war. It can be a little jarring to see military themes on cards that were supposed to foster sentiment, but it was a competitive market, and I’m sure that manufacturers wanted to seem current, and relevant. And you really can’t beat the sentiment when you see my ammunition, you’ll surrender your position, which was evidently quite popular as it was issued with a variety of images. So in celebration of St. Valentine’s Day and commemoration of the Great War, here is a selection of valentines from 1914-1919: from Great Britain, the United States, France, and (the most intimate of all, handmade on the Front) Australia.
Sources: Nancy Rosin Collection; Bodleian Library, Oxford University; Library of Congress; Ebay; Etsy; The Old Print Shop; Australian War Memorial.
February 14th, 2015 at 1:41 pm
I think “Hooverizing” love was something they were supposed to do in the “50 Shades of Grey” movie, but they had to drop it or get an NC-17 rating.
February 14th, 2015 at 2:08 pm
Lots of interesting turns of phrases here!
February 14th, 2015 at 3:35 pm
Darkly funny… interesting post!