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Treasure 40: Valentine and Sons Postcards Collection, 1825-1963
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Treasure 40: Valentine and Sons Postcards Collection, 1825-1963

Historic Documents
Léa Moreau
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Treasure 40: Valentine and Sons Postcards Collection, 1825-1963
Historic Documents
Treasure 40: Valentine and Sons Postcards Collection, 1825-1963
Founded in 1825 as a printing firm based in Dundee, Valentine & Sons grew to become a prominent force in the postcard industry. Combining established printing practices with new developments in photography, Valentines were one of many companies able to exploit the growing Victorian tourist boom, aided in part by easier travel on Britain's new railway system.
James Valentine, son of the original founder John, became an early pioneer in photography with many of his works reproduced by the company from 1860. After James' death in 1879, the company continued under his two sons, George Dobson Valentine and William Dobson Valentine.

From 1896, Valentine and Sons began producing postcards to complement their existing business which included books of photographs, portraits and Christmas cards. As the postcard business grew in success, the company expanded into other tourist markets - including opening offices in Jamaica, Norway, North Africa, Canada and New York.

By the 1930s, the company focused solely on postcard production, but a focus on monochrome and sepia prints seems to have underestimated a growing demand for colour images. By the 1950s, the business was suffering and elected to change direction by returning to greetings cards. The company was purchased by Waddington & Co in 1963 - which in turn passed to Hallmark cards in 1980. Operations in Dundee ceased in 1994.

As with other producers of photographic material, the legacy of such a prolific business enables modern audiences a glimpse into the past with thousands of images from numerous locations capturing a given moment in time. Postcards have become a staple for those with historical interest, and many private collectors seek to hold the entire works of companies such as Valentine and Sons.

For the Local Studies service, the collection of postcards produced by Valentine and Sons offer some unique and fascinating insights into Aberdeen life in the past. Not only this, the messages written on the back of postcards - both from and to those in Aberdeen - can often bring a more human side to the historical picture.
Postcards, Valentine
Aberdeen Local Studies
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