Home > McAllister Collection of Civil War Era Printed Ephemera, Graphics and Manuscripts

Civil War Prints & Ephemera

Comic Valentine Collection

Comic valentines, very popular in the United States beginning in the early 1840s, are quite different from the lacy, heart-shaped cards that one associates with the holiday today. The cartoons and verses poke fun at various occupations (lawyers, doctors, preachers, butchers, etc.), ethnicities (Black, Irish, German, etc.), human frailties (fat, thin, ugly, nosy, two-faced, etc.), romantic aspirations, habits and pastimes, political activities, and participation in the American Civil War. The Philadelphia collector John A. McAllister assembled the collection and donated it to the Library Company of Philadelphia in 1884. The Library Company continues to add to the collection. More...