Saint Valentine's Day
Saint Valentine's Day Saint Valentine's Day (commonly shortened to Valentine's Day) is an annual holiday held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The holiday is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentine and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD.
It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). The holiday first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.
Modern Valentine's Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have largely given way to mass-produced greeting cards.
Valentines of the mid-19th and early 20th centuries Esther Howland Valentine, circa 1850: "Weddings now are all the go, Will you marry me or no"
Valentines of the mid-19th and early 20th centuries Valentine card, 1862: "My dearest Miss, I send thee a kiss" addressed to Miss Jenny Lane of Crosthwaite Hall, Small burgh, Norfolk.
Valentines of the mid-19th and early 20th centuries Whitney Valentine, 1887; Howland sold her New England Valentine Company to the George C. Whitney Company in 1881.
Postcards, "pop-ups", and mechanical Valentines, circa 1900-1930 Buster Brown Valentine postcard by Richard Felton Outcault, early years of 20th century
Postcards, "pop-ups", and mechanical Valentines, circa 1900-1930 Football-playing Disney-like rat and bulldog are set in motion by the pull-tab on the right, circa 1920
Postcards, "pop-ups", and mechanical Valentines, circa 1900-1930 A grommet affixed to the center of the card permits the dog's eyes to glance side-to-side when the blue bow is moved.
Postcards, "pop-ups", and mechanical Valentines, circa 1900-1930 Advertisement for Prang's greeting cards, 1883.