For Valentine’s Day, Ten Records About Love

Guest blogger Elizabeth Lieutenant, a Master’s student in Library and Information Science at The Catholic University of America, is a virtual intern in the Office of Innovation.

February is upon us, and while it may be cold outside, we’re keeping warm with thoughts of the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday. Valentine’s Day, also known as the Feast of Saint Valentine, has been celebrated for centuries. While Valentines is sometimes exclusively thought of as a time for lovers, our top 10 Valentines Day records from the National Archives show there are plenty of different ways to celebrate the holiday.

Do you love your President? Why not send them a Valentine’s Day card to show how much you care:

F-88 12-A1-091 Berryman

St. Valentine’s Day, 02/14/1917. This illustration by cartoonist Clifford Berryman appeared in the Washington Evening Star on February 14, 1917, and depicts Woodrow Wilson’s confirmed re-election coming in the form of a Valentine’s Day card. National Archives Identifier: 6011195

Whoops! Bet these political figures weren’t expecting these “Valentine Surprises”:


Some Valentine Surprises, 02/14/1907. This illustration by cartoonist Clifford Berryman appeared in the Washington Evening Star on February 14, 1907, and depicts some Valentine’s Day surprises based on current political issues. National Archives Identifier: 6010696

Do you think President Roosevelt preferred his “Surprise” card, or this “Inappropriate” card?:


“Inappropriate Valentines”, 02/14/1912. This illustration by cartoonist Clifford Berryman appeared in the Washington Evening Star on February 14, 1912, and offers some humorous valentine cards placing major political figures at the time in some positions which are difficult to imagine. National Archives Identifier: 6010930

We hope Teddy doesn’t hold a grudge and revoke our invitation to the White House Valentine’s Day Party:


Office of the Deputy Administrator – White House Invitation in celebration of Valentine’s Day. National Archives Identifer 6907792

Many of our troops can’t make it home for Valentine’s Day, so this Master Sergeant is trying to make the day as special as possible:


US Air Force (USAF) MASTER Sergeant (MSGT) Stan Pamphille, 86th Services Squadron (SVS), prepares assorted candies cups for the Valentine’s Day Customer Appreciation Luncheon, inside the Dinning Facility at Ramstein Air Base (AB), Germany, 02/14/2003. National Archives Identifier: 6633402

Being a military spouse on Valentine’s Day can be hard, so it’s important to try to make their day feel special:


Left to right, US Air Force (USAF) First Lieutenant (1LT) Megan Kranenburg, with the 92nd Civil Engineer Squadron (CES), 1LT John Parrett, from the 92nd Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS) and Second Lieutenant (2LT) Kate Houston, with the 92nd Services Squadron (SS), Company Grade Officers group, take on the role of Cupid. They perform a complimentary vocal performance for Vanessa Bosshard, wife of STAFF Sergeant (SSGT) Kenneth Bosshard, assigned to the 92nd Communications Squadron (CS), for Valentines Day’s, 02/12/2004. National Archives Identifier: 6659618

Military service members will be getting a special delivery thanks to “Operation Valentine’s Day”:


US Air Force (USAF) AIRMAN First Class (AIC) Joel Rose, 305 Aerial Port Squadron, loads Valentine’s Day packages onto a 60K loader, for Operation Valentine at McGuire AFB, New Jersey (NJ). This operation provides Valentine’s Day packages to troops who are deployed to overseas locations in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, 02/14/2002. National Archives Identifier: 6603744

While Veterans receive Valentine’s Day cards from the “Valentines for Veterans” program:


Mr. Willie Huckley, a retired US Army (USA) veteran, receives a Valentine Day card from US Air Force (USAF) STAFF Sergeant (SSGT) Amie Kahler, 81st Training Group, Kessler Air Force Base (AFB) Mississippi (MS), during her Units annual Valentines for Veterans visit at the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital in located in Biloxi, MS, 03/13/2002. National Archives Identifier: 6643686

The National Archives staff has been known to cut a rug on holidays:


St. Valentine’s Day Hop on the Mezzanine level outside Room 105, February 1975. National Archives Identifier: 3493299

And like any good Valentine’s Day party, we will have cake:


Children cut Valentine party cake, ca. 1953. The children are students at Slim butte day School 1953-54. National Archives Identifier: 285496

What will you be doing to celebrate this special day? How about spending some time researching the things you love? You can search our online catalog or visit us in person at one of our many facilities. We would love to see you!

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