The Victorians began a vogue for Valentines with cats and every generation since has placed their own mark with wit or wisdom. I collect vintage ephemera and some of these images were repaired and/or enhanced.
At the turn of the century, Valentines graphics were frilly and ornate. Kittens were often paired with young girls.
During the Edwardian era and into the 20s graphics turned less ornate with sentiments of true love and purity but
they could just as easily be satirical or slyly suggestive especially those printed in England like this one.
Long before the Internet, TV or radio, letters were the lifeline of communication and expression.
Oh dear, I’m not sure what to say except: We’ve come along way, baby!
The themes of girls and cats continued into the 20s and beyond. Black cats, considered lucky in the U.K. were favored.
The expression “a cat’s whiskers” as someone hot or attractive sprang out of the “roaring twenties”. The color red became brighter and the color to symbolize Valentine’s Day.
From the 30s into the 40’s the cute Kewpie doll face emerged. Cards were shifting to a rounded, more cartoonish childlike form.
In the 50s and 60s brightly colored cartoons with funny play on words were popular and appealed mostly to kids.
The mid century modern style into the 60s had a distinctive look with cleaner graphics.
Nothing is more emblematic of the 70s to 90s than the Kliban cats.
With the advent of the Internet and LOL kitties, Valentine cats have come full circle. Now every style and sentiment of Valentine cat cards is available. In over 120 years, styles and fashions have changed but the love of cats endures. Which of these cards is your favorite?