Valentine’s Day History A’la Carte 2017 edition



How much do you know about Valentine’s Day history? Test your knowledge against these articles!



Vinegar Valentines: for the one you love to hate?

Whether received from an embittered ex or a cruel practical joker, it would have been a nasty surprise to open any of these cards, dating from the 1870’s, on Valentine’s day.


Victorian Valentine’s Day Cards 

A selection of Victorian Valentine’s Day cards went on show last year at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The cards, often handmade, featured lace, pressed grass and Valentine’s jokes. One card, titled “The Bark of Love”, featured a fairy in a gilded carriage drawn by two swans. Another, rather saucy card, featured what is possibly a pair of Victorian undergarments, with the message, “I think of you with inexpressible delight”.


Valentine’s Day in the Georgian Era 

There were many different customs and traditions surrounding Valentine’s Day, one of which baffled the unsentimental writer of this letter to the newspaper.

St Valentine’s Day customs 

On the night before Valentine’s Day, take five bay leaves, pin four of them to the corners of your pillow, and the fifth to the middle. If you dream of your sweetheart, you will be married before the year is over. To stimulate dreams, hard boil an egg, take out the yolk, and fill the egg with salt.  When you go to bed, eat the egg, shell included.  Do not speak or drink afterwards.


How to find your Valentine – Georgian style

Well, Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and it’s a leap year, so what are you waiting for, it’s the perfect time to find your soul mate. The Georgians were no different – they believed that they had to pull out all the stops to find the person of their dreams, so forget internet dating and give some of these a go!


Valentine’s Day in early 19th century America

The custom of celebrating St. Valentine’s Day came to America with English and German settlers. Though mass-produced valentine cards did not appear in the United States until the mid-19th century, handmade valentines were exchanged as early as the Revolutionary War.



To celebrate the holiday 19th century style, I’ve collected a few Valentine’s Day news items from Regency England, Victorian England, and even 1890s Texas.


 Valentine’s Day: A Brief History

Valentine’s precise identity is mysterious–he might have been a Bishop of Terni, he might have been a priest. Legends about him are various.


 Margery and John Paston: Fifteenth-Century Valentines

As we celebrate the day dedicated to love letters, it seems appropriate to share a Valentine’s Day story from one of the most famous letter-writing families of the Middle Ages: the Pastons. Letters written by all sorts of different members of the Paston family managed to survive the Middle Ages against all odds, and they are a treasure trove of information for historians and romantics alike.





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1 ping

    • KateB on February 14, 2017 at 9:48 am
    • Reply

    Very interesting, Maria. 🙂 happy Valentine!

    1. Thanks, Kate. I love this sort of stuff!

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