Ah February, the heart of winter. The weather in Wheeling has been especially brisk this year, with layer after layer of snow blanketing these fair streets. It’s tempting to hunker down and keep your eyes fixed on spring’s arrival, but there’s actually a lot to celebrate in the year’s shortest month. There’s Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, Lunar New Year, and of course, February is Black History Month. As such, some of our Weelunk writing will focus on these topics. 

As with any research endeavor, I find a lot of interesting information in the archives that doesn’t always translate to warrant a full Weelunk article. However, some are too good not to share! In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I’ve dug up some fun vintage postcards and newspaper advertisements to get you in the holiday spirit. I hope you enjoy browsing through my latest collection of clippings below. If you have thoughts, questions, or additional information on something we publish, we would love to hear about it in the comments!

“Local Lovers” Postcards

Remember how last month I was singing the praises of the digital newspaper archives? Another fabulous resource is the Ohio County Library Public Archives’ Flickr account. There, you can browse through Wheeling’s photographic history with images scanned from the archives. 

The best part is that the OCPL Flickr doesn’t just contain photographs! There are also some scans of postcards and other ephemera from their collection. Here are a few romantic scenes, 

Here are three postcards from the archives that have a bit of a romantic theme, implying that Wheeling has been for lovers long before Virginia coined the familiar phrase. At the time, it was common for printed material like this to be mass-produced and then local printers could customize it with their town.

 

Check the name on the signature – Dan Cupid. Is Cupid’s first name really Dan? If you’re as surprised as I was to learn that was Cupid’s name, you probably won’t be surprised that it’s likely attributed to the Bard himself: William Shakespeare. Apparently, it’s not Dan as in Daniel, but Dan as in Don, meaning master.1

Ah, to be in love. You, me, and tree. This couple seems to be the outdoorsy type. Maybe she’s introducing her beau to the tree she has been seeing while he’s been away.

Is Wheeling the best place on earth? This couple certainly thinks so… or at least one of them does. 

Did you know Valentines weren’t just for those you admire? “Vinegar Valentines,” like the one pictured below, could be considered an anti-Valentine and were meant to be given out to unpleasant people, or simply to spurn advances. So just imagine, in all of these clippings advertising romantic cards that there were likely salty missives stocked alongside!

‘Tis a lemon that I hand you/And bid you now “skidoo”/Because I love another–/there is no chance for you! Card from the Missouri Historical Society.

Valentines for Sale 

  • Wheeling Intelligencer, February 12, 1904

Will you be making your own Valentines (or Vinegar Valentines) this year? Perhaps you can use these vintage postcards and clippings to inspire your own DIY love note to share with your sweetheart.

References

1 William Shakespeare “Love Labour’s Lost” Act III, Scene I. http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/LLL_3_1.html

• Kate Wietor is an AmeriCorps member currently serving with Wheeling Heritage researching and writing historical content for Weelunk. Kate has a BS in Anthropology from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. In her free time, you can find her lurking in antique stores, marveling at the resiliency of plants in the urban landscape, and enjoying the multitude of hand-painted signs around Wheeling.

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