RICHARD AUGUST NEUBERT ANTIQUE
hearts, laces, and love are but a few words that describe
the de Grummond Collection's most recent acquisition. The
Richard August Neubert Antique Valentine Collection
came to us through the generosity of Mr. James G. Irby.
August Neubert, a specialist in graphic arts, packaging design,
and corporate and industrial design, was an avid collector
of paper ephemera. His interest in decorative arts led him
to collect antique valentines, a passion that he pursued for
more than forty years. During that time, he assembled a fascinating
collection of rare and beautiful valentines, primarily from
the Victorian period.
Lansing, Michigan, in 1917, Mr. Neubert grew up surrounded
by his first, second, and third generation German extended
family. Neubert served as a sergeant in the Pacific during
World War II and was decorated by both the Philippine and
the United States governments. After the war, he moved to
Chicago, where he pursued his interest in the graphic arts.
He worked for the Container Corporation and Sears, designing
corporate programs for both American and Canadian companies.
He later joined the industrial design firm, Dave Chapman,
Inc., from which he retired in 1980. Mr. Neubert moved to
Columbia, Mississippi in 1982, where he became active in community
activities and continued to pursue his interest in the decorative
arts. After a lengthy illness, Mr. Neubert died in 1991 at
impressive collection contains more than 650 valentines, dating
from 1838 to the 1980s, with many accompanied by original
envelopes. Highlights of the collection include numerous pristine
examples of embossed lace paper valentines manufactured from
papers created by Joseph Addenbrooke; Thomas De La Rue; Dobbs,
Kidd & Co.; Joseph Mansell; J.T. Wood; George Meek; and Mullord
Bros. Also included are many cards created by two famous Americans,
Esther Howland and George C. Whitney, who produced valentines
using imported embossed and perforated blank papers from the
aforementioned British firms. Other famous valentine makers
whose work is featured include the New England Valentine Company,
Jonathan King, George Kershaw & Son, Turner and Fisher, and
David Mossman. Also held are valentines created by publishers
well known for their early children's book production, including
Dean & Son, Louis Prang, Ernest Nister, McLoughlin Bros.,
and Raphael Tuck & Sons.
of cards are present--shadowbox valentines and boxed valentines;
mechanical cards from Germany, lift-the-flap, and "cobweb"
designs; decorated letter sheets and large, single sheet,
hand-colored lithographs; and the caricatured comic valentines,
complete with cruel verses. Other outstanding examples are
valentines from the Civil War era, designed for the fighting
men to send home to their loved ones.
complement to the valentines, Mr. Neubert also collected valentine
writers, very popular in both England and the United States
in the mid-nineteenth century. Valentine writers were books
containing verses written in a variety of sentiments - romantic,
serious, comic, and melodramatic - meant to be copied by those
lacking in poetic skill. Of equal interest to the verses are
the titles of the writers themselves; our holdings include
Cupid's Annual Charter, The New Quizzical Valentine Writer,
Richardson's New London Fashionable Gentleman's Valentine
Writer, and Cupid's Album. The following verse from The True
Lovers' Budget provides a sentimental example: "I lost my
heart when last we met, and tis my firm belief / Twas you,
my chosen Valentine, twas you that was the thief. / I do not
wish it back again, provided you'll agree / That your bright
jewel of a heart may be purloined by me. / And that we mutually
keep each other's heart for life, / Holding possession upon
terms of husband and of wife."
splendid collection of valentines and related materials provides
an exciting new dimension to the holdings of the de Grummond
Collection. An extensive exhibition is planned for Valentine's
Day 1997. If you can't wait that long, full-color scanned
images of several cards can be viewed at the de Grummond Collection
web page highlighting
the Neubert Valentine collection.