Farmer’s Cabinet (Amherst NH) Vol 70, Issue 31, Page 2; Wednesday, February 14, 1872
To day, (the 14th) is known in the calendar as St. Valentine’s Day. Many believe St. Valentine a myth like Santa Claus; but this is an error. St. Valentine had a history, although historical authorities differ. According to some ecclesiastical writers he was a bishop, by others a prebyter, who was beheaded in Rome in the reign of the Emperor Claudius, A.D. 270–Wheatleigh says that St. Valentine “was a man of most admirable parts, and so famous for his love and charity that the custom of choosing valentines upon his festival took its rise from thence.” Others derive the custom from birds supposed to select their mates on the 14th of February; others again from a practice prevalent at ancient Rome at the festival of the Lupercalis, being during the month of February, when, among other ceremonies, the names of young women were placed in a box, from where they were taken by young men, according as chance directed. There are frequent references to St. Valentine’s Day in Shakespeare. In this country the day is observed by sending ornamental, illustrative or comic missives to friends and foes alike.