February 14, 2012
By Elisabeth Grant
Happy Valentine’s Day! Dear readers, please accept our Valentine’s gift to you: a collection of Valentine’s Day and history-related links.
- Today in History: February 14
The Library of Congress’s American Memory site remembers Valentine’s Day with glimpses from the past: 1877 sheet music for the song “My Valentine,” a digitized version of the 1910 Cupid at Home in the Kitchen cookbook from the Cooking with Love and Chocolate exhibit, film stills from Edison’s “The Kiss,” and more.
- Ten Out-of-the-Ordinary Valentine’s Day Customs
Traditional Valentine’s Day gifts of modern times include flowers and chocolate, but in the past this hasn’t always been the case. Smithsonian magazine’s article “Ten Out-of-the-Ordinary Valentine’s Day Customs,” lists when and where in history you were more likely to see ballots, gloves, and bay leaves on Valentine’s Day. For more Valentine’s Day-related reading see another Smithsonian magazine article: “The History of Sweetheart Candies.”
- Love Me Did: A History of Courtship
The Backstory with the American History Guys podcast spices things up by investigating “three centuries of pre-marital intimacy.” In this recording, produced last year, they speak with Beth Bailey, historian and author of From Front Porch to Back Seat: Courtship in Twentieth-Century America, and Pamela Epstein, historian and blogger-in-chief of Advertising for Love, about dating practices throughout history.
- A Free Valentine’s Day Card from the Archives
Print out a free Valentine’s card from Smithsonian Institution Archives and send it to “your favorite friend, researcher, or archivist” … or historian! The card reads: “may you always find what you’re looking for” and the SI Archives points out that could be “true love, a juicy manuscript, or a historic photo!”