From Advice Columns to Comics: 300 Years of Valentine’s Day Celebrations

3 min read

| By Kevin Kohls |

Besides being a great excuse to eat candy, Valentine’s Day is a fascinating holiday to look back at primary source documents. From advertisements, love columns, children’s books and even notes primary sources offer a multitude of perspectives from which to analyze the history of Valentine’s day.

Organized chronologically the documents below offer glimpses into 300 years of Valentine’s Day celebrations.

1677 Poor Robin’s Intelligence

Description of St. Valentine’s Day festivities

“Reddriff. One of Neptunes Tennants, that us’d to Plow ….” Poor Robins Intelligence, 20 Feb. 1677. 17th and 18th Century Nichols Newspapers Collection, Accessed 7 Feb. 2019.

1686 London Gazetter

Advertisement for a St. Valentine’s Day fair

“Advertisements.” London Gazette, 21 Jan. 1686. 17th and 18th Century Nichols Newspapers Collection, Accessed 8 Feb. 2019.

1695 The Athenian Mercury

Valentine’s Day Advice Column

1736 The London Magazine: Or, Gentleman’s Monthly Intelligencer

To a young Gentlewoman on Valentine’s-Day

“To a young Gentleman, on Valentine’s Day.” The Gentleman’s Magazine, 1 Feb. 1754, p. 90. American Historical Periodicals, Accessed 7 Feb. 2019.

1793 New Lady’s Magazine

Valentine’s Day Poem

1810 Hampshire Chronicle

Valentine’s Day Lottery Advertisement

“Advertisement and Notices.” Hampshire Chronicle, 1 Jan. 1810, p. 1+. British Library Newspapers, Accessed 8 Feb. 2019.

1829 Aurora and Franklin Gazette

A history of St. Valentine’s Day traditions

“St. Valentine’s Day.” Aurora and Franklin Gazette, 20 Feb. 1829. Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers, Accessed 8 Feb. 2019.

1859 Comic Monthly

Saint Valentine’s Day Comics

“SAINT VALENTINE’S DAY.” Comic Monthly, 1 Mar. 1859, p. 8. American Historical Periodicals, Accessed 8 Feb. 2019.

1893 Fun (UKP)

St. Valentines Day: The Pillar of the State

“ST. VALENTINE’S DAY.” Fun [UKP], 15 Feb. 1893. 19th Century UK Periodicals, undefined. Accessed 8 Feb. 2019.
1937 New York Herald Tribune (European Edition) a.k.a. International Herald Tribune

St. Valentine Is Ignored Here, on Downgrade in America

“St. Valentine Is Ignored Here, on Downgrade in America.” New York Herald Tribune [European Edition], 14 Feb. 1937, p. 2. International Herald Tribune Historical Archive 1887-2013, Accessed 11 Feb. 2019.
1967 The Times

Make your own Valentine

Gelson, Hilary. “Make your own Valentine.” Times, 8 Feb. 1967, p. 13. The Times Digital Archive, Accessed 11 Feb. 2019.

1992 Punch

‘I just think Valentine’s day is getting too commercial’

Pugh, Jonathan. “‘I just think Valentine’s day is getting too commercial’.” Punch, 12 Feb. 1992, p. 3. Punch Historical Archive, 1841-1992, Accessed 11 Feb. 2019.

Explore more Valentines Day advertisements, comics, columns and more with Gale Historical Newspapers, the global window to the past with more than 18 million digitized pages spanning more than 400 years. AIR JORDAN

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