In a strange beginning to the modern St Valentines Day, we are told that the great English poet and writer, Geoffrey Chaucer was the one who first linked St. Valentine's Day with romance. It's recorded that in 1381, Chaucer wrote a poem to mark the engagement of England's Richard ll to Anne of Bohemia. Chaucer linked the poem to St. Valentine's Day.
The oldest valentine still in existence today was a written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was a prisoner in England's Tower of London after he was captured at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part in a collection at the British Library in London.) A few years later, King Henry V employed a writer called John Lydgate to write a valentine note to his sweetheart Catherine of Valois.
Over the next 400 years, the holiday evolved, and by the 18th century, gift-giving and exchanging hand-made Valentine cards on Valentine's Day had become commonplace in England. It wasn't long before hand-made cards made of lace, ribbons, with cupids and hearts soon became common in in America.
Americans started to give each other hand-made valentines in the 1700s. In 1840, Esther A. Howland began making the first mass-produced Valentines in USA. Howland who was called the “Mother of Valentines,” made fancy creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures which today we call "scrap." This year over 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards will be sent to lovers, spouses, friends and family members, making Valentine's Day the largest card-sending holiday of the year. (More Christmas Cards are mailed but many of these are Boxed Cards). An interesting foot-note is that 75% of Valentine cards are sold in the last 48 hours before the holiday as most are hand-delivered.