Home / Cover Art / Beyond the Canvas / Classic Covers: Celebrating Valentine’s Day

Classic Covers: Celebrating Valentine’s Day

Published: February 14, 2011

Secret Valentine by Harry Hintermeister

Secret Valentine by Harry Hintermeister

Secret Valentine
Harry Hintermeister
The Country Gentleman
February, 1938

Sometimes it’s best to remain a secret valentine. Case in point: when you’re sending a valentine to a special boy and he’s sending valentines to every girl in town! The little girl’s face is priceless – she doesn’t know whether to cry or jump up and strangle him. This is from our then-sister magazine, Country Gentleman from 1938.

Lady buying Valentine Card by Ethyl Franklin Betts

Lady Buying Valentine Card by Ethyl Franklin Betts

Lady Buying Valentine Card
Ethyl Franklin Betts
February 13, 1904

One of our earliest Valentine’s Day covers shows a lady shopping for a card in 1904.This cover was done by an artist named Ethel Franklin Betts. Is the gentleman behind the shopper wishing the card was for him? Betts was a student of the illustrious (in every sense of the word) Howard Pyle, and did mostly illustrations for children’s books. Luckily for us, she also did four Saturday Evening Post covers.

First Valentine by Richard Sargent

First Valentine by Richard Sargent

First Valentine
Richard Sargent
February 11, 1956

More than fifty years later, this lad is picking out just the right card for someone special. Cover artist Dick Sargent did forty-seven covers in the 1950’s and early sixties. This is a typical slice-of-life example, with a boy clearly not wanting to be seen doing what he’s doing. Let’s hope his buddies don’t catch him while he’s at it – poor kid will never hear the end of it.

Giant Valentine by Tom Webb

Giant Valentine by Tom Webb

Giant Valentine
Tom Webb
February 13, 1937

The things we do for love. Tom Webb is another mostly forgotten artist, but he did six Post covers. This one is from 1937. One wonders about the lady’s reaction.

Couple in Heart by Bradshaw Crandall

Couple in Heart by Bradshaw Crandall

Couple in Heart
Bradshaw Crandall
February 17, 1934

Artist Crandall did nine Post covers of pretty girls or handsome couples. I love the thirties hairstyles and fashions here. Crandall was known for painting romantic ladies…along with pin-ups too risqué for the likes of The Saturday Evening Post.

Older Woman Casing Cupid by J.C. Leyendecker

"Older Woman Chasing Cupid" by JC Leyendecker

Older Woman Chasing Cupid
JC Leyendecker
February 29, 1908

When it came to romance in the 19th century, men did all the pursuing. A “loophole” was Leap Year, when ladies were supposedly permitted to propose to a man. So watch out, Cupid! This lady (I’ll kindly refrain from calling her a spinster) is on a mission. This crazy 1908 cover was by J.C. Leyendecker.

Read More: