CRESTVIEW — Crestview resident Lynn Lee has collected Victorian greeting cards since she was 12 years old.
"I started just by buying a box of junk when I was 12 and the cards were in the bottom of the box," she said.
Now, more than 50 years later, she shares a selection of late 18th and early 19th-century Christmas cards with Crestview Public Library patrons.
Today's graphic design programs, such as Adobe PhotoShop and InDesign, coupled with digital printing and laser cuts, can't produce cards with the warmth of the lithography, delicate die cuts and embossing Lee has displayed.
Though she only purchases cards that interest her, several of the exhibited cards are from the Raphael Tuck and Sons printing company in London.
The firm, which produced cards for Queen Victoria, lost its original dies and plates in the London Blitz during World War II, Lee said.
"It was so amazing," Lee said. "His son took over after the war, and some of his grandchildren are still in the business. I found it so interesting that he still kept going after the war."
Lee said until she mounted an exhibit of Victorian Valentine's cards at the library in January 2012, "nobody got to enjoy them but me. Now I'd like to get my cards out more."
Admiring her cards' intricate designs and reading senders' sentiments inscribed in flowing script transports Lee back to another era, she said.
"I think I'm living in the wrong time," she said. " I think the story of Victoria and Albert is just so wonderful. It's a wonderful love story. It's always been a time period that's dear to my heart."
The exhibit, which runs through December, includes Victorian dolls and other antiques to complement Lee's cards.
Lee will visit Dec. 5 to chat about her collection and share Christmas cookies.
WANT TO GO?
WHAT: Visit with antique card collector Lynn Lee
WHEN: 10 a.m. to noon, Dec. 5
WHERE: Crestview Public Library lobby, 1445 Commerce Drive behind the post office
DETAILS: Learn about Victorian card production and enjoy Christmas cookies with exhibitor Lynn Lee.
Contact News Bulletin Arts & Entertainment Editor Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.