In 1850, Esther Howland published the first Valentine’s Day cards in the US, running an ad in the Worcester, Massachusetts Daily Spy. After receiving her first English valentine, she had become fascinated with the idea of making and selling them. When orders far exceeded what she could make herself, she recruited friends to help her. The assembly line she set up in her home eventually produced $100,000 in sales. Esther retired in 1881, selling her business to the George C. Whitney Company.