By April Stevens (W&M Editorial Assistant)
It’s February 14th and love is in the air…or is that the spirit of President Washington frowning on our frivolous cards and candy? When Valentine’s Day and Presidents’ Day coincide on the same long weekend, one cannot help but notice the juxtaposition between cuddly cupids and an austere Lincoln.
This week’s Cabinet of Curiosities embraces this clash of sentimental and presidential to bring you some interesting historical tidbits about both.
The origin of Valentine’s Day is still debated, but regardless of how it really began, lovers have been marking their love on this day since at least the 17th century. If you’re interested in the history of the classic paper “Valentine”, take a look at Ruth Webb Lee’s book A History of Valentines.
For many, the conversation heart candy is a classic 20th century symbol of Valentine’s Day. Can you believe that these chatty little confections date all the way back to 1847? Erin Blakemore gives us the history of these sweet treats.
More lasting than cards and flowers, many have immortalized their love for another in song. But did you know that the history of the classic love song has a complex gender history? Ted Gioia explores the role of female innovators in the development of the love song on the OUPBlog.
For the Love of a President
Abraham Lincoln is considered one of the United States most beloved Presidents. Yet, most Americans today would probably consider the nation’s way of mourning “Father Abraham” to be a bit much. Richard Wightman Fox’s recent article shares how Lincoln’s decaying corpse was sent on a two week, five state funeral tour.
“My purest queen, no man was worthy of your love.” This message Teddy Roosevelt wrote to Alice Lee and other love notes in“Love Letters from the Oval Office” unveil the softer side of some American presidents. Who knew presidents could be such poets?
If you enjoyed these little factoids, take a look at some of other recent posts:
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