The Mt. Pleasant Relic Home features many artifacts preserved to help future generations appreciate and become more knowledgeable of old-time traditions and crafts. Two examples of the familiar valentine are given here, using separate techniques but with the common medium of paper.
The following picture is a valentine made in 1820 and brought to Utah with one of the original pioneers, Mrs. Marie Clemenson. It was given to her mother in 1820 and no doubt was a treasured keepsake which crossed the plains with Mrs. Clemenson to Utah. It is an excellent example of the art of paper pricking. Paper pricking is the art of piercing holes in paper with a needle. Paper pricking is one of those old-time crafts that have largely been set aside in favor of more modernized crafts.
The actual valentine was too large to scan and so the following is only a portion. The words are in the Danish Language.
Another papercraft became a life time hobby of one of the daughters of another original pioneer. Clarissa Wilcox Meiling, born in Mt. Pleasant in 1863, created thousands of hand-made, hand-cut valentines and sent them to notable figures such as Governor Maw, Governor Lee, President Grant and President George Albert Smith. As you visit museums and libraries in Utah as well as New York, Los Angeles, Canada, you will recognize her hand-cut intricate beauties. The following picture is one of Clarissa's Valentines that Pauline Seely donated to the Mt. Pleasant Daughters of Utah Pioneers. They later donated it to our Relic Home.
In February of 1950, the Provo Herald honored her with an article and her picture as she fashioned one of the old style valentines.
Among her collection was an intricate hand cut valentine which she made when she was 17 years old for her sweetheart, who later became her husband. It was bordered with a braid of her own black hair and tied with faded blue ribbons. Her special sentiment read:
"I cut my own valentine,
and weave it with my hair --
with my own hands I pen these lines,
and send them to thee with care.
My hair hangs down in ringlets,
my eyes as black as slors,
and my heart lies in your bosom
when you are gone afar."
The International Daughters of Utah Pioneers honors Clarissa Wilcox Meiling in their lesson book this month of February with her story and pictures of her craft. We are proud to honor her as one of Mt. Pleasant's own.
These two examples of handcrafted valentines can be seen at the Mt. Pleasant Relic Home. Also included in our collection are an assortment of victorian-era valentines which are ever popular and many are hand-crafted as well.