Day was probably imported into North America in the 19th century
by British settlers. In the United States, the first mass-produced
valentines of embossed paper lace were produced and sold shortly
after 1847 by Esther Howland (1828-1904) of Worcester, Massachusetts.
Her father operated a large book and stationery store, and she
took her inspiration from an English valentine she had received.
Since 2001, the Greeting Card Association has been giving an annual
"Esther Howland Award for a Greeting Card Visionary".
the second half of the 20th century, the practice of exchanging
cards was extended to all manners of gifts in the United States,
usually from a man to a woman. Such gifts typically include roses
and chocolates. In the 1980s, the diamond industry began to promote
Valentine's Day as an occasion for giving jewelry.
some North American elementary schools, students are asked to
give a Valentine card or small gift to everyone in the class.
The greeting cards of these students often mention what they appreciate
about each other. Though this practice has been criticized for
possibly being irrelevant or inappropriate, it has continued for