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Valentine's themed weekend events at Read House, Hagley Museum

New Castle’s Read House is hosting tours this Sunday called “Courtship, Letters & Love” – featuring rarely seen love letters and accompanying etiquette rules - and even marriage certificates from the 1800s.

The Read House’s Katie McDade says you can see three marriage certificates from the 1800s when they came edged in lace during two tours Sunday at 1 and 3 p.m.


McDade adds love letters of that era were also quite different, with men more likely to use flowery language than women.


There were even etiquette guides with rules for letters of love, and the Read House has examples from both the 19th and 20th centuries.


McDade says one - the “American Etiquette and Rules of Politeness Guide” - is from 1883.


“And it was saying that love letters should be free from silly extravagant expression, and contain nothing of which the writer would be ashamed, were the letter to fall under the eyes of any other person," McDade said.


Emily Post wrote another - 1923’s “Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home.”


“She says something very similar," McDade said. "Never write anything that would embarrass you were you to see it in a newspaper.”


McDade notes Valentines came later with a few handmade ones surfacing in the late 1800s.


The Read House doesn’t have any of those, but have some from the early 1900s – when commercial printing of Valentine’s became popular.


The Hagley Museum is hosting Victorine’s Valentines Day activities this Saturday: the event is named after AI DuPont’s eldest daughter Victorine.


Hagley Education Program Manager Jeff Durst said visitors can make their own valentines, candy bar wrappers, and tissue paper flowers.


“The Victorians believed that the different colors had different meanings, that had different messages," Durst said.


Blue meant mystery, orange was for excitement, purple for love at first sight, and red for true love.


Durst said visitors can also learn all about the life of Victorine herself - who founded the Brandywine Manufacturers Sunday School – while writing verses with a quill pen.


Visitors can also sample handmade gingerbread cookies and hot cocoa combinations from a hot cocoa bar.


The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.



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