Feb 22, 2012 10:31PM
● By Anonymous
Why do we give cards covered with lacey hearts and filled with sappy sweet words to one another on Valentine’s Day? The first Valentine was sent by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife in 1415 and writing love letters and affectionate notes achieved mounting popularity during the 1700s. People simply used regular writing paper until 1820 when companies began to produce stationary specifically for Valentine’s Day. In 1840, England’s postal rates became standardized and resulted in the escalation of Valentine cards in Britain and later, the United States. Esther A. Howland of Massachusetts received an English card and was inspired to create her own American Valentine-making business. The next steps for Valentines included mass-produced greeting cards and exchanging gifts along with the cards. Today, with about one billion cards sent world-wide every year, Valentine’s Day is second only to Christmas for the most popular card-sending holiday. Whether you send a hand-written note, a manufactured greeting card, or the latest electronic valentine, it’s sure to put a smile on the recipient’s face!—Janey Dike
Champagne Wishes and Blue Crab Dreams
Amidst the Occupy Wall Street movement and the talk of 99 percenters vs. one percenters, a fun fact emerged from recent data compiled by the research firm, Phoenix Marketing International. Marylanders, it turns out, are doing pretty well at earning big bucks. For the first time, Maryland topped the list of states with the most millionaires per capita. Approximately 7.22 percent of Maryland households earn $1 million or more annually, a slight edge over Hawaii (7.21 percent). Others rounding out the top 10 include New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Alaska, Virginia, New Hampshire, California, and D.C.—James Houck
A Maryland First
The Farmers Bank of Maryland in Annapolis (established in 1805) was the first financial institution in the United States to pay interest on deposits. It paid four percent on deposits held longer than six months, and three percent on demand deposits. That’s a very good deal compared to today’s rates, which hover around one percent interest at most banks for a standard savings account. And if your great great grandfather deposited just $10 per year beginning in 1805 (and assuming granddad and dad kept up with the annual deposits), at that four percent rate of compound interest, today you’d have $906,025.43. Not too shabby.—J.H.
It’s not every day that you get the mail and see a gorgeous stamp on a letter. Or better yet, your own photo made into a United States Postal Service stamp. But that’s exactly what Chestertown resident and photographer James L. Amos will soon see. His photograph of pastoral Lancaster County, Pennsylvania was selected by the USPS to appear in the forthcoming “Scenic American Landscapes” series of stamps depicting a variety of American scenes in photos. Amos, an award winning photographer who’s been shooting professionally since 1967—when he left a position with Eastman Kodak and picked up freelance work with National Geographic—says he photographed the Lancaster scene in 1995 or ’96, when he made repeat trips there, and later sold the work to the stock photography agency, Corbus. The USPS found the image via Corbus and the rest is stamped into history.—J.H.
Courtesy United States Postal Service