This Week In History: Valentine’s Day, 1908


This segment features a news item from Fayette County’s past. This week we examine a story from the February 14, 1908 edition of the Daily News Standard.

“The observance of St. Valentine’s day in and about Uniontown this year is very general and young and old are joining heartily in the exchange of tender missives of affection, friendship, and greeting.”

So begins a front-page article on Valentine’s Day from the Daily News Standard, published on the very date of the holiday in 1908. According to the Standard, the year saw an unprecedented number of gifts and cards moving through the post office, where the rush put the clerks in mind of Christmas.

Like today, the holiday had a commercial angle. A “prominent firm” — likely that belonging to Harry Beeson, a bookseller who operated out of the West End Theatre Building — reported a robust sale of Valentines. They had begun ordering their stock as early as the previous July, creating a selection that ranged from the penny Valentines that were popular with children to the deluxe $5 Valentines. (I would have liked to have seen the latter. Five dollars in 1908 had the same buying power as more than a hundred dollars would now!)

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