Love tokens, often mistakenly called valentines, were given in affection on days other than February 14. In this exuberant example, fifteen hearts and six heart-and-hand motifs are applied in horizontal rows to a sheet of paper. The heart-and-hand is generally associated with love or friendship and probably originated from Valentine’s Day customs. In one tradition, a man gave a woman the gift of a glove, which she then wore in acceptance of his proffered love. In another, a woman gave a man her glove, which he then wore pinned to his sleeve for the duration of the day.

Early works on paper at the American Folk Art Museum. New England, Circa 1820.