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The History of Valentines Part B

Posted by Administrator on 2/27/2014

History tells us that it was Chaucer who first linked St. Valentine's Day with romance. 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. Hand-made cards made of lace, ribbons, with cupids and hearts soon became common 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 was called the “Mother of the Valentine,” 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.