52 Ancestors,
in 52 Weeks
Week 6:
Family Finds Charter Oak

Valentine Mystery

Among my paternal grandmother’s keepsakes is an old Valentine’s Day postcard. It is the only Valentine among her keepsakes. This has led me to wonder about the significance of this particular Valentine. There is no postmark and it is unsigned. Who sent it? And, why did she keep it?

The Evidence

The postcard has a copyright date of 1910. My paternal grandmother, Pearl Jane Osborne, was born in Indianapolis 19 May 1893. She was 16 years old on Valentine’s Day 1910. Old enough to be receiving romantic Valentines. My grandmother attended Shortridge High School and graduated in June 1913. She knew plenty of boys while in high school. During those years a disproportionate number of students were young men and her class of over 250 pupils was considered large.

Valentine Front

The address on the Valentine is the home my grandmother lived in with her parents and uses my grandmother’s given surname, Osborne. This leads to the conclusion the Valentine was sent prior to her marriage in October 1914.

Melancholy Message

There is just one line from the sender,

“From a heart that was bruised and broken because I thought you did not care.”

Two words are underlined, which leads me to conclude the sender had strong feelings. The handwriting is not familiar to me. But, since I do not have a good sample of my paternal grandfather’s handwriting, I cannot rule out he was the sender.

There is no stamp or postmark on the Valentine. Last year I wrote about my paternal grandparents for the week 4 prompt, Close to Home. The information I provided in that post showed they lived very near each other. [1] Did my grandfather write these words and hand-deliver the card? It may explain why my grandmother would keep an unsigned Valentine with such a melancholy message. Especially since my grandfather died unexpectedly in August 1928.

Valentine Back
Pearl Osborne 1913


I will never know the true story behind this old Valentine. But, I can image that my paternal grandfather was the sender. Perhaps my grandmother initially rebuffed his proposal, engendering the feelings in the message. Although I think of my grandmother as being sentimental, she had relatively few keepsakes. For her to keep this old Valentine for more than 60 years, it seems likely it held some strong meaning.


While researching this post I discovered the publisher copyrighted several Valentines in 1910, all having a similar design. All of these, now antique, cards can be found for sale on eBay for around $10. Interestingly, some have not been used while others are someone’s keepsakes. [2]

Valentine Front
Valentine 3
Valentine 2


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