Vinegar Valentine from the early 1900s

From Wikimedia Commons, public domain

From Wikimedia Commons, public domain

I stumbled upon something today that I’d never heard of…a Vinegar Valentine!  They were sarcastic and insulting cards that were popular from the second half of the nineteenth century until World War II.   This one reads:

A Simpering Miss

 The smile that on your face appears,

Stretching your mouth to meet your ears,

You think, no doubt, as sweet as honey,

Whereas, dear girl, it’s only funny.  

From Wikipedia:  “The unflattering cards reportedly created a stir throughout all social levels, sometimes provoking fistfights and arguments. Ironically, the receiver, not the sender, was responsible for the cost of postage up until the 1840s. A person in those days paid for the privilege of being insulted by an often anonymous “admirer.”

Which makes them the Victorian ancestor of this:

otter gurl

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