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Alderman Library Exhibits

Online; Still Image
Black-and-White Photographs
Date Created
Berdan Valentine ; Nearly 125 years ago, an anonymous suitor sent a valentine to Miss Mary Berdan, daughter of the first mayor of Toledo, Ohio. She saved the card, perhaps for the original, handwritten poem inside. It was given by her grandson, William B. Murphy in 1944, exactly 100 years after it was first delivered. The valentine, made of two folded sheets, is decorated with an assortment of stars, birds, flowers and the moon, in addition to the usual hearts and cupid's arrows. It is framed in a border of white punched lace work. Despite his efforts, the would-be suitor apparently was resigned to failure. The last half of his four-verse poem reads: "I've thought of thee Mary,/ Mid pleasure and pain:/ With the vision to please thee,/ As my only aim. "But I've thought of thee Mary,/ As designed for another/ And all that I can ask/ Is to be thought as a brother."
University of Virginia Visual History Collection
Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.
Retrieval ID
MSS 9248-d
Call Number
image of the page of the digitized material