Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Typewriter

This postcard is an example of a Vinegar Valentine. Vinegar Valentines are insulting greetings that make fun of many types of people and professions, often in the form of a verse. On this card, the type of person being insulted is a typewriter (an early term for typist):
You've seen her, the gay office belle,
Whose "gentleman friends" are all "swell"
Her clothes are so "grand"
That she can't understand
Why she'd be expected to spell.
Sometimes the design of Vinegar Valentines includes hearts or the word Valentine, but often it does not. This postcard was obviously sent as a Valentine--the postmark date is Feb. 13,1909. Like most Vinegar Valentines, it was sent anonymously, signed "Guess Who?"

The article Happy Valentine's Day, I Hate You has more information about Vinegar Valentines and a slideshow with many examples.

To See More Vintage Images


  1. Geez, I don't think I'd like getting such a Valentine - all in fun, or not! It is a cute card, however.

  2. Never heard the expression "Vinegar Valentine." What a fun response to the prompt.

  3. Ah yes, no ‘autocheck’ in those days either. A fun postcard.

  4. I wonder if Pauline could guess the sender?

  5. I was wondering if Pauline could guess the "who" too.

  6. I had never heard of a Vinegar Valentine. I've just been to see the latest version of Far from the Madding Crowd and even though it wasn't a Vinegar Valentine, the Valentine sent to the unsuspecting neighbour caused all sorts of trouble.

  7. Well, you learn something new everyday. Never heard of Vinegar Valentine.
    I don't know how I feel about that. It seems to be in good fun, but....
    Nice answer to the prompt though.

  8. What a fun different post on this week's theme. . I too had never heard of vinegar Valentines, but had to laugh at the poem.

    Family History Fun

  9. Behind the joke we can glimpse a common annoyance of the time - misspelled typewritten words. Any new invention brings unforeseen problems. It must have been some time before correcting fluid was invented. The humor is also an example of how stereotypes were regularly the basis for laughter in this era. We see it now as mean spirited but I think it resembles the style of hurtful comments found on many internet sites today. At least the old vinegar postcards rhyme.

    1. I remember ink eradicator for fountain pen ink, but references to typewriter correction fluid seem to be all about white-out or Liquid Paper which wasn't invented until the 1950s.

  10. Yes, I think all troll comments on websites should be required to be in limerick form.

  11. oh, I like Sean's idea!
    I've never heard of these Vinegar Valentines (though I may have a card or two)
    And I thought you might have the same World's Fair postcard :)

  12. Cute card. I had never thought of "typewriter" as a typist, but it makes sense -- once I change the old tape in my mind.

  13. I agree with Sean. Make the modern day trolls do it in verse. Even so that delightful verse which you have quoted would bring the wrath of the gods down on it if it were posted on Facebook today.

  14. I love limericks, and I think this is in the form of one. Somewhat inappropriate in the present day, though. I'd never heard of Vinegar Valentines either.


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