The History of Valentine's Day (3)
In Great Britain, Valentine's Day began to be popularly
celebrated around the seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth
century, it was common for friends and lovers in all social classes to exchange
small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. By the end of the century,
printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing
technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their
emotions in a time when direct expression of one's feelings was discouraged.
Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of
sending Valentine's Day greetings. Americans probably began exchanging hand-made
valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began to sell the
first mass-produced valentines in America.
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