Gibeau, Collector of Antique Valentines
Shortly after Ronald Gibeaus
grandmother died in 1970, his mother sorted through
her effects and came across a box of valentines that
had been stored in an old trunk. She gave one of the
small fold-down valentines to Ron as a keepsake and
told him that, nice as it was, she could remember seeing
grander, more ornate ones, too expensive for her family
to afford, when she was a girl growing up in the Yakima
Thus began the quest for vintage
valentines which was to last for the rest of Rons
life. His main sources were estate sales and antique
stores, where he was careful to select only authentic
cards, discarding those that might be reproductions.
With postcards, this meant choosing only those which
had actually been mailedand especially those with
hand-written love notes. As he collected, Ron learned
about the various designers and makers of valentines
and placed this information alongside the appropriate
cards in the albums he maintained for them. His favorites
were the elaborate fold-down or mechanical cards, which
he called his "paper sculptures".
Ron loved to show off his collection
to anyone who was interested, opening his home to individuals
and community groups for the exhibits he created there.
He and his valentines was also the subject of newspaper
and magazine articles, and appeared on television talk
shows and news segments.
Ron Gibeau died in 2000, and his
entire collection of 552 valentines was then donated
to the Yakima Valley Museum by his sister Yvonne Gibeau
Butler. This was done so that his tradition of sharing
the cards with the public would continue and also to
ensure that the collection would remain intact and be
properly cared for.