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  • Volume 36 Number 4 Winter 2012

    Important Message from Nancy Rosin, PresidentThank you for your many wonderful letters, for helping to share our passion, and for guiding ustowards the future. In order to solve the dilemma of increasing postage and printing costs, we will follow the path of many others, as our Directory and Newsletter become electronic publications.Others have met similar challenges, and discovered many benefits. You will have the ability to enlargeyour page, print it out at home, and even view it on your electronic devices. This method will enableus continue to provide the articles and auctions you love. A limited number of paper copies will be made for libraries and available at extra cost. While this seems dramatic, we expect a smooth transition, and truly appreciate your understanding. We will enter our 37th year, with a bright futureand our love of Valentines!

    This issue is devoted to the master purveyor ofValentines, Eugene Rimmel. As a perfumer in VictorianLondon, his workshop created scented Valentines,fans, perfumed fountains, and all manner ofromantic novelties. Inside, you will find his fragrantstory!

    More will be found online during the festive month ofFebruary! We are honored to jointly celebrate the heritage of Eugene Rimmel with our friends at theprestigious John Johnson Collection of Ephemera at theBodleian Library, Oxford University. This prestigiousrepository in the United Kingdom, enthusiasticallyshares our passion for the history of the Valentine.

    Please follow this link, and you will be directed to the virtual exhibit:

    Best wishes for a Happy Holiday Season!

    Happy Valentines Day, 2013

    Welcome new members:Val Hall 108 Oakbriar Close SW, Alberta, Canada T2V 5H2

    Barbara Loe 11165 Penfield Ave. N., Stillwater, MN 55082 bjloe@earthlink.netPat Villmer 274 Edwin Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63122

    We are sad to announce the passing of our dear friend and member, Janice Naibert.

  • While it was beautyand inherent promisethat ultimately soldevery Valentine, eachm a n u f a c t u r e rbrought a certainflair or style to theirproduct, adding to itspopularity then, andadding fascinationfor the modern collec-tor. One person whohad a dramatic effecton the manner in

    which St. Valentines Day was celebrated, wasEugene Rimmel, of London, England. Theappeal of his genius extends far beyond his associ-ation with perfumed papers, for his personal focuson the original marketing of his product, and hisconcept of beauty, has had a lasting impact.

    The magical allure of his Valentine incorporated acombination of beautiful materials, creativedesign, romantic intention ~ and usually, an intox-icating scent. Eugene Rimmel utilized his manyyears in the perfume industry to perfect it as anasset to romance, through its chemical effect onthe brain. Concernfor hygiene hadarisen in the seven-teenth century, andby the nineteenthcentury, cleanlinesshad become synony-mous with virtue.Since the subtle ben-efits of bathing hadnot reached all class-es, perfume becamean essential part offeminine attire. Ascamouflage for bodyodors, its usagebecame essential, toshield the senses in the odoriferous environmentof nineteenth century London. In fact, Mr.Rimmel believed that the refinement of a womancould be ascertained by her choice of perfume.

    Modern studies have corroborated his observa-tions, for it has been scientifically shown, that theneurological effects of fragrance can alter bloodpressure, pulse and mood, as well as having seda-tive effects. Of the five senses, only our sense ofsmell is linked directly to the brains control cen-ter, where emotions such as fear, anxiety, depres-sion, anger, and joy emanate.

    The Book of Perfume, Eugene Rimmels leg-endary contribution to the world of scent and themagic of perfumery, used scholarship and beauti-ful art-work, to reveal the history of the subject,while enhancing his product; it enjoyed multipleprintings between 1864 and 1870, in bothEnglish and French.

    Eugene Rimmel:Master of Scent &By Nancy Rosin

    Eugene Rimmel ~ 1820-1886

    Eugene Rimmel continued on page 3


  • His shop, however, is where his expertise as amanufacturer reached the pinnacle. Soaps andperfumes, scented gifts of all sorts, and artfullyinspired Valentines, made the shop at 96 Strand,seem like Cupids Headquarters. The divine scentpermeated the street beyond the doors, and invit-ed all passers-by into his shrine. From the cellarto the attic, in preparationfor the holy event, work-ers assembled missivesthat ranged from the mostsimple to the most elabo-rate. Sweet-smelling flow-ers, feather doves collect-ed in Brazil, music boxesand glove boxes, sachets,fans with marabou andmother of pearl, and jew-eled gifts of substantialvalue ~ there was no limitto the fantasies created bythis establishment ~ andsent throughout theworld. His vision of beau-tiful merchandise set astandard for the period. Astaff of one hundred fiftyyoung women was happi-ly employed at the placefrom which all Valentines

    in the world appeared to emanate. In1864 the company produced 250weekly, nearly $500 at the time --impressive statistics when todayscomparative numbers would be twenty-fold.

    Matching the extensive volume ofthese magnificent creations, EugeneRimmel was exceptional in his uniquemarketing. Having met a talentedyoung French artist, Jules Cheret, hecapitalized on the young mans skill,and soon, he was producing eye-catch-ing labels for his perfume products, aswell as annual Perfumed Almanacs,which conveniently advertised theirproducts. Theater programs for atleast three theaters in the Strand pro-

    moted perfumed gifts to the captive audience;often the paper programs provided to the moreexpensive seats were pleasantly scented ~ a salu-tary touch in a crowded public venue, where itcould be a precious deodorant. His involvementwith the theater is said to even have included aperfumed waterfall in at least one show ~ possibly

    the 1875 Covent Garden production ofCinderella and the Glass Slipper, whichhe produced. Seasonal advertising fliers~ avidly collected now -- included abroad range of seductive, amorous, andplayful mementos for all his devotees.

    Eugene Rimmel continued on page 4

    Sentiment ~ Genius of Perfume & Lace

    Folding fans were createdfor Christmas andValentines Day ~

    sentimental,useful,and coyly romantic.

    Sachet envelopes were festive mementos for holidays, birthdays, farewell, and love -- and Mr. Rimmel found myriad ways to share his potions. Special colored papers, like this gilded

    blue treasure, would be embellished with lace and scraps, and scented with twelve different flowers for the cost of one British Pound. These were not trivial!


  • Eugene Rimmel continued from page 3

    A skilled artist, Jules Cheret, became the muse forRimmels fantasies, as the images of cherubs,women, flowers and children began to decorate theater programs, as well as Valentines. PopularValentine themes included a Shakespearean seriesfeaturing heroines such as Juliet and Desdemona,Loves Visions, depicting fantasies of romanticdreams, and the Language of Flowers series, whichillustrated a popular trend in which flowers symbol-ized specific messages.

    Often signed, the works of Cheret are widely recog-nized, as great fame ensued as a result of his associa-tion with Eugene Rimmel. The designs Cheretdeveloped, and his expertise in the technical aspectsof lithographic printing, led him to Paris, where hisstudio, established by his patron, Eugene Rimmel,created a new art form. Jules Cheret attained interna-tional fame as his brightly illustrated posters popular-

    ized a new advertising medium and his lovely imagesdanced across the billboards of Paris. Now recognizedas The Father of the Modern Poster, his early con-nection to Valentines is virtually unknown.

    Housed in a building called Beaufort House, theRimmel establishment scented the neighborhoodand charmed the public, with ornamentalValentines, Christmas cards, and Easter cards. Itsfamed upstairs workshop was filled with fabulousmanufacturing materials, including papers, fabricand tinsel, feathers, gums, and chemical spirits,which proved to be highly flammable, and may havefueled the fire which caused its total destruction inMarch, 1875. Despite the great loss, estimated atsixteen thousand pounds, and todays comparablevalue in the millions, the business continued inother locations, and produced magnificentValentines until the 1890s.

    Beautiful almanacs became popular desk accessories, and their designs changed with the times.From the romantic Language of Flowers themes of 1859 and 1863, to the elegance of the 1903 Art Nouveau,

    and the Comic Almanac of 1879, buyers were assured they would always be in style!


  • It was the firstcompany to employwomen in the man-ufacture of per-fume, and has con-tinued to this day ~

    a reflection of the triumph of the establishment hestarted in 1834. Acquired by Coty Cosmetics in thetwenty-first century, the name was retained, and itspopularity endures as a respected and trend-settingname in products which enhance beauty, as thelegacy of Eugene Rimmel.

    Emblems of love that know no end. And though so simple is the gift,

    The choice was made by Love, not Thrift,And here I swear that Time shall seeHow Ever-green's my love for Thee.

    And as the Ivy, tight doth twineFirmly my love shall compass thine

    If Thou wilt be my Valentine.

    Hand painted flowers on regal purple silk moir, cloaked in silvered lace,

    spoke a secret message. Beribboned doves on unique blue lace carry several messagesof devotion, including: Lily of the Valley