Nothing Says “I Hate You” Like a “Vinegar Valentine”



Valentine’s Day is known as a time for people to send love notes, including anonymous ones signed “your secret admirer.” However, during the Victorian era and the early 20th century, February 14th was also a day on which unlucky victims could receive a “vinegar valentine” from their secret haters. Sold in the U.S. and Britain, these cards featured an illustration and a short line or poem that insulted the recipient. They were used as an anonymous medium for saying mean things that its senders wouldn’t dare say to someone’s face. Vinegar valentines were sent as far back as 1840, but they were homemade then. Eventually, printers began mass-producing Valentine cards that ranged from expensive love notes to the cheap vinegar variety. Fortunately, by the 1960s, vinegar valentines were no longer being circulated.