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Valentine's Day cards from the Sarah Graydon McCrory Collection

South Caroliniana Library


As a heartfelt and calorie-free Valentine's Day treat, we present a selection of vintage valentines from the Sarah Graydon McCrory Collection, a set of 13 scrapbooks held by the Manuscripts Division of South Caroliniana Library.

"Both Mrs. McCrory and her husband of more than 66 years, Marvin L. McCrory (1919-2011), completed degrees at USC," said Brian Cuthrell, Manuscripts, South Caroliniana Library. "The Library also has Mr. McCrory's papers. He was a prominent builder and founder of the McCrory Construction Company, which built many familiar mid-century modern buildings  in South Carolina and elsewhere, including USC's Thomas Cooper Library and Capstone dormitory, Senate Plaza and St. Martin's-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church.

"South Caroliniana Library also holds the papers of Mrs. McCrory's brother, Gus Graydon, a veteran of World War II who fought in the China-Burma-India Theatre. He has written a number of local history works about the Midlands. These are the Augustus Tompkins Graydon Papers," Cuthrell said. "We also have the records of her husband's business: the Records of McCrory Sumwalt Construction Company.

"In addition to the greeting cards, Mrs. McCrory's scrapbooks document her time at Columbia High School, 1935-1938; her years at Hollins College in Virginia, 1938-1942; and a visit to the 1939 World's Fair in New York with her parents, Columbia attorney Clint T. Graydon (1890-1962) and Mrs. Raven Simkins Graydon (1891-1976)," Cuthrell said. "The cover of the World's Fair scrapbook includes silhouettes in cork of the Trylon and Perisphere, the iconic symbols of that exhibition."

The scrapbooks show a teenager and, then, a young woman coming-of-age during the Great Depression and World War II. The books document her activities, travels and social life by including letters, publications, programs, postcards, matchbooks, tickets, brochures and maps.

"The entire McCrory collection provides a great perspective on what life was like for one South Carolina family during the Great Depression and in later years," Cuthrell said.

The Valentine Day's cards shown here, all dated 1933, are from the Sarah Graydon McCrory Collection, Scrapbook Volume 1 (1924-1935), which preserves a collection of art deco greeting cards celebrating holidays.



Above, "Valentine's Greetings to the One I Love" is simply stated.




At left, "I'd Make a 'Tie 'dy Little Valentine" makes a humorous play on words.









At right, a tennis player receives "Loving Thoughts."









Below, the playful kids of "Pull-ease Be My Valentine!" offer a slightly different perspective than most Valentine's Day cards.



















At right, "Loving Greetings" are delivered by a white dove.





Below, "To My Valentine" offers a sweet poem and shy, love-struck cherubs. The poem begins on the front and opens to reveal the rest:

"We'll sit here on the sand and spoon,

A little girl and fella.

Why should we be so far apart?

Come under my umbrella."




At left, "All Keyed Up to Ask You to be My Valentine!" offers another play on words.




Below, "What a Lucky Strike you made when you got me" is a thinly veiled advertisement for Lucky Strike cigarettes, the top selling brand in the United States in the 1930s.