Free Shipping. Free Returns.

Your Cart is Empty

The Mother of the American Valentine

February 02, 2016

The Mother of the American Valentine

Valentine cards are a staple of February 14th. Whether you dreaded being the only kid without a valentine card in third grade or purchased an ironic valentine for your best friend, you can thank a hard-working entrepreneur who turned an idea into an industry: Esther Howland.

Image courtesy of AAS

The daughter of a book and stationery store owner, Howland was born and raised in Worcester, MA. After graduating from Mt. Holyoke Female Seminary in 1847, she received an English valentine from one of the store's vendors. English valentines were elaborately adorned with hearts and multiple layers of lace and decoration, making them more intricate and flashy than the valentine cards used in the US at the time. Howland may not have been won over by the vendor, but she was certainly inspired by the intricate British designs.

Working with stationary supplies from her own store, Howland quickly created several prototype cards. To test whether Americans would buy them she asked her brother to take the prototypes on sales calls. She expected to receive roughly $200 in orders, but when her brother later returned with $5,000 she knew she was on to something. This one-woman craft quickly expanded into a business and Howland employed a growing number of women to make valentine cards, reaching peak sales of $100,000.

Image courtesy of AAS

In 1879, Howland merged her company with Edward Taft, another valentine maker, and they created the aptly-named New England Valentine Co. Two years later, in 1881, she decided to sell the company to a competing stationer in Worcester in order to have time to take care of her ailing father.

Not only did Howland jump start an American industry, she was among the first commercially successful women to oversee an all-female business. In fact, she created the assembly line concept well before Henry Ford, and liberally paid the women who worked for her. She insisted on making valentines the right way, using well-paid labor and great attention to detail, resulting in cards of the utmost quality.

Also in Tuckerman Journal

New Video: Making a Tuckerman shirt

April 13, 2017

It was so fun to have our friends from DoneGood at the factory! It was awesome to hang out with them, show them around, and share with them how our shirts are made. 

Read More
B The Change
B The Change

March 09, 2017

It would have been amazing if there were a guide to becoming a Certified B Corporation when we started Tuckerman. And now there is! Our friends at The Yale Center for Business and the Environment and Patagonia have put together a fantastic guide for entrepreneurs considering B certification and/or incorporation.
Read More
It isn't easy being green
It isn't easy being green

December 11, 2016

Pantone has announced the color of 2017--and while we're excited to see our signature green thread on Pantone's website, even more energizing is how Pantone ascribed the pursuit of personal passions and a larger purpose.
Read More
Join Tuckerman

Get the latest news & updates from Tuckerman

How do I know my size?



Tailored Cut
Our standard cut. A tailored, yet comfortable look for active men.

Neck         15      15 1/2      16      16 1/2      17       17 1/2 
Shirt Chest        43      45      47      49      51      53 
Fits Chest 36-38 38-40 40-42 42-44 44-46 46-48
Shirt Waist        41     43      45      47      49      51 
Fits Waist 34-36 36-38 38-40 40-42 43-44
Classic Cut
A more generous, flattering cut that looks great on a man of any shape and size.

Neck        15      15 1/2      16      16 1/2      17       17 1/2 
Shirt Chest        47     48      50      52      54      56 
Fits Chest
41-43 43-45 45-47 47-49 49-51
Shirt Waist        44     45      47      49      51      53 
Fits Waist 37-39