A Valentine's Day card from the 1920s
The history of Valentine's day goes back to the days of the Roman Empire, 3rd Century AD. Legend has it, that Valentinus, a theologian and teacher, was imprisoned for his Christian beliefs and sentenced to death. Whilst in jail, Valentinus restored the sight of his jailer’s blind daughter. The night before he died, Valentinus wrote a farewell note to the girl, which he signed, “From Your Valentine.”
He was executed the next day, Feb. 14, 269 A.D.
The oldest known Valentine written in English, was a letter sent from Margery Brews of Norfolk in 1477, to her fiancé John Paston calling him “my right well-beloved valentine.”.
Valentine's Card circa 1920
Valentines Day was mentioned by Geoffrey Chaucer in his 14th century poem Parliament of Foules, as the time when birds selected their mates. Shakespeare's also refers to Valentine's Day, in Hamlet when Ophelia quotes, 'Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s day, All in the morning betime, And I a maid at your window, To be your Valentine.'
Sending poems of love became popular by the 1840s and by the 20th Century, Valentines's Day had become commercial with Hallmark selling Valentine's cards in 1913.