Today In History – February 14

The Cream of Love , New York: Published by Currier & Ives, c 1879. Popular Graphic Arts Prints & Photographs

The romance we associate with Valentine’s Day may spring from the medieval belief that birds select their mates on February 14.

Today In History – February 14

The romance we associate with Valentine’s Day may spring from the medieval belief that birds select their mates on February 14.

During the Middle Ages, lovers recited verse or prose to one another in honor of the day. The Nuremberg Chronicle (published in 1493) is believed to contain the first in-print mention of Saint Valentine, though his role as patron saint of lovers was not mentioned.1

The Queen of Love . New York: Haasis & Lubrecht, c1878 Popular Graphic Arts Prints & Photographs

Handmade valentines, probably the first greeting cards, appeared in the sixteenth century. Mass production of cards began as early as 1800. Initially hand-tinted by factory workers, by the early twentieth century even fancy lace and ribbon-strewn cards were created by machine.

Lee, Ruth Webb. A History of Valentines. New York: Studio Publications in association with Crowell [c1952]. p.3.

Learn More

 

 

  • Make your valentine a lovely meal! Historical cookbooks can be a great place to find recipes and entertaining tips.
Valentinus. In Liber Chronicarum , compiled by Hartmann Schedel. Germany: A. Koberger, A. Koberger, July, 1493. World Digital Library

 

  • Woo your valentine with a song:

• Search on love songs in California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties Collected by Sidney Robertson Cowell to find transcripts and recordings collected for the WPA California Folk Music Project. Listen to True Lover of Mine, for example, while reading the transcript.

 

• Or, search the collection Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, ca. 1870 to 1885 on valentine to retrieve sheet music for songs like “A Valentine Ballad.”

  • See how our predecessors celebrated the big day by searching for valentine or valentines day in our collection of historical newspapers, Chronicling America

 

 


 

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