The cards chided women for looking and dressing too well, or for not paying enough attention to their appearance. They were criticized for frowning too much or smiling too broadly. Women who campaigned for the right to vote were prime targets.
Men were also the butt of vinegar valentines, criticized for drunkenness, vanity, stinginess, and stupidity.
Nasty valentines poked fun at people’s physical traits or misfortunes: their age, excessive weight, or widowed status. The worst cards suggested suicide.
The image on one of them depicts an oncoming train with the verse: Oh miserable lonely wretch! / Despised by all who know you; / Haste, haste, your days to end – this sketch / The quickest way will show you!
View more examples of vinegar valentines and read how they became popular and eventually died out in my article in CrimeReads.
This blog, like the books and stories I write, combines mysteries, food, trivia, and a bit of humor to leaven the grim subject of crime. Sometimes random subjects intrude here .