• What's the Reno Cure for Valentines Gone Wrong? D-I-V-O-R-C-E. It’s Valentine’s Day, so naturally our thoughts turn to divorce. That's the odds-even outcome of marriage, if you believe the oft-cited statistic that half of all nuptials in the United States will end up on the rocks. In fact, the overall rate is more like 30 percent, and the frequency of divorce has been dropping since the 1970s, when 37 states amended or repealed their divorce laws, causing onl…
  • Happy Valentine's Day, I Hate You With all the hand-wringing over anonymous commenters and social-media trolls, you’d think the Internet is to blame for all the woes of humanity. After all, what could people do with their ugly, mean thoughts before they had Yelp, Reddit, or Tumblr to help broadcast them? But as far back as the 1840s until the 1940s, they could send them in a Vinegar Valentine. Yes, that’s right. For almost as long…
  • Vintage Romance: Valentine’s Day at Home We all know the day, that special day for lovers and couples. There is many a man and woman who work hard to make February 14 the most romantic day of the year. But the pressure can be overwhelming—with all the anticipation, planning, and preparations, from making dinner reservations at the perfect restaurant to coming up with the perfect outfit and shoes. For women, this might seem daunting, but …
  • Selling Soap and Smokes With Victorian Trade Cards How did I start collecting Victorian trade cards? In the late 60s I was a bottle collector, early American bottles and flasks. I started noticing there were colorful trade cards that advertised the medicines, often with preposterous claims about their curative powers. You could pick these cards up for 10 cents or so, so I started collecting them with the bottles. I just became more and more intere…
  • 19th-Century Tobacco Cards Dave Campbell contacted me after reading a post on The Baseball Card blog. He's been collecting baseball cards non-stop since 1981. He has recently created a collection of 19th century Allen & Ginter cards. I talked with him at length about how he got interested in these cards and what it took to assemble the collection. : What prompted you to begin collecting 1880's Allen & Ginter card…
  • The Force of Collecting Star Wars Cards I was 10 when the movie came out and I went to the store and bought a couple of packs of Star Wars cards. But I ended up trashing all the cards I had when I was a kid, and in my collection today I have none of the cards that I had then. They all went to the garbage, but later on down the road, seven or eight years ago, in my early 30s, I started collecting them again. I still like Star Wars and th…
  • Hitting a Home Run with Baseball Cards I started collecting in 1986. If you’re in Boston and you’re a baseball fan, the Red Sox may take over your life. They take over your life in a way that other teams don’t. With the Red Sox, I was so used to everything being terrible. They’d get your hopes up and then they crush your will to live. So collecting cards grew from that appreciation. It became an easy way for me to harness OCD and my lo…