Esther Howland

Visual Artist from United States of America

Esther Howland (1828–1904) was an artist and businesswoman who is responsible for popularizing Valentine's Day greeting cards in America. After her graduation from Mount Holyoke College in 1847, Howland received an ornate English Valentine from a business associate of her father when she was 19 years old. Intrigued with the idea of making similar Valentines, she began her business importing paper lace and floral decorations from England. Her father operated the largest book and stationery store in Worcester, Massachusetts, and ordered supplies for her project. She made a dozen samples which her salesman brother added to his inventory for his next sales trip. Hoping for $200.00 worth of orders, she was elated when he returned with over $5,000 worth of business for her. Howland employed friends and developed a thriving business in Worcester, Massachusetts using an assembly line. She named her business the "New England Valentine Company". Her valentines became renowned throughout the United States and she was called "The Mother of the American Valentine." Her business eventually grossed over $100,000 per year, a considerable sum for that time, and she eventually sold the business to  ( Wikipedia article )


Personal facts

Date of birth
Place of birth
United States of America


Institution From To
Mount Holyoke College


Date of death

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