Old-fashioned missives: The way we once said 'I love you'

For a different kind of Valentine’s Day outing, consider a visit to the Heinz History Center, which has pulled together a collection of vintage valentines and love letters.

Some of the valentines in the collection date as far back as 150 years, and the letters harken back to a time when putting pen to paper was the most common way to communicate.

As beautiful handwriting becomes an unusual sight, the history center is displaying flourishing penmanship as a valued historic treasure.

Some online sites, such as handwrittenletters.com, also place a value on the written word. The website collects handwritten letters and encourages folks to sit down and pen a letter to those who are most important to them. Perhaps one day the letter will find its way into a historic collection.

The letters and valentines shown here are part of the Thomas & Katherine Detre Library & Archives collection at the Heinz History Center. The center recommends that those who want to see more artifacts call ahead so that additional material can be pulled from the archives.

History center staff also suggest that a visit to the display might make for a romantic date. 

“You can come in and actually research anything in the archives,” said Brady Smith, senior communications manager for the history center. “You can view all of the valentines or love letters. It might be cool. It would be something unique, that’s for sure.”

For more information about the archives at the Heinz History Center, 1212 Smallman St., in the Strip District: 412-454-6364.

First Published February 13, 2014 12:00 AM

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