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!
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
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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!
Valentines for Sale
Wheeling Intelligencer, February 12, 1904
Wheeling Intelligencer, January 27, 1914
Have you ever received a singing telegram? Wheeling Intelligencer, February 11, 1982.
This may have been a backhanded compliment, but I’m choosing to see it in a positive light. We love to see a supportive partner! Wheeling Sunday Register, January 10, 1897
An entirely unique approach to Valentine’s Day, Brenda Coulling made a heart out of firewood. Wheeling Intelligencer, February 14, 1975
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.
• Kate Wietor is currently studying Architectural History and Historic Preservation at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. She spent one glorious year in Wheeling serving as the 2021-22 AmeriCorps member at Wheeling Heritage. Since moving back to Virginia, she’s still looking for an antique store that rivals Sibs.