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20 Creepy And Petty Valentine's Day Cards Victorians Sent To Those They Hated

Victorians didn’t play when it came to showing their hatred towards others, and these sassy, savage vintage Valentine's Day cards prove it.

If you thought the most heartbreaking Valentine’s day story was yours, or maybe poor Ralph getting rejected with his “I choo-choo-choose you” card, you couldn’t be more wrong. As it turns out, the Victorians had a pretty mean way to let others know they didn’t like them with most creepy and disturbing Valentine’s day cards ever, known as “vinegar valentine.”

This is how they worked. Around the 1840s, there was a huge craze over Valentine’s Day merch in the UK and the US. Everybody wanted to get the people they loved all sorts of cheesy cards and gifts. However, how could you let people know you were interested in a kind of toxic way? I mean, we now have social media to be jerks, but what about those days? Well, someone came up with these actually funny cards to balance things out and give others the chance to show their hatred of the world.

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These postcards often contained grotesque illustrations accompanied by a well-written yet insulting poem. They were sent anonymously, so the recipient had to guess who it was that hated them so much, which, in my opinion, is kind of funny. If you thought that was it for this hurtful Victorian custom, wait to hear this. Not only did people receive random "hate mail," but they also had to pay for the delivery!

Most of the time, people sent these vinegar valentines to their bosses, local drunks, old maids who never found love (WTF!), politicians (that’s ok, I guess), unwanted admirers, and basically, anyone who had wronged the addressee at some point in their lives. Of course, the level of the insult and the illustration would depend on the depth of the sender's hate. 

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Who was behind these? Well, we owe most of these precious, satirical works to a successful New Yorker printer named John McLoughlin and his star cartoonist, Charles Howard. These became so popular in the US during the 1840s that pretty soon they were imported to the UK, where their popularity grew exponentially. By the early twentieth century, these valentines started to lose popularity to the point that they faded away completely by the twenties. And though they had a sudden comeback during the seventies (due to hatred of the hippies), they never experienced their initial success again. 

So, if someone's annoying you, you’re still in time to let them know with these disturbing Victorian "vinegar valentines" cards. Or, if you’re not a jerk, you can download and send these cute and cool cards, stickers, and frames to your loved ones (download here), designed by our creative team at Cultura Colectiva.

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Here’s more on Valentine’s Day you might want to take a look at:

Who Was Saint Valentine? The Truth Behind The Day Of A Roman Martyr
The Chinese Tradition That Celebrates Everlasting Love And The Hope To Find Your SO
Need A Love Potion For Valentine's? This Plant May Do The Trick

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