Godey’s Lady’s Book played an important role in shaping the cultural customs in 19th century America. The “Queen of Monthlies” is best known for the hand-tinted fashion plate that appeared at the start of each issue, which provide a record of the progression of women’s dress.
Beyond clothing fashions, the articles and editorials in Godey’s included descriptions of current trends and acted as an arbiter of manners and helped shape many of the traditions practiced by American families today.
This was part of an 1890 series of articles covering a year of American domestic traditions and lore.
A Year in the Home: February
By Augusta Salisbury Prescott
What are you going to do this year to keep alive the memory of Saint Valentine? Do you know who he was and why he is peculiarly entitled to be held in loving family remembrance?
He was a bishop who dwelt in Rome, and who made it his special care to look after the happiness of married couples, and to assist the young in their matchmaking. So it would be more than a pity if we were to allow the good old custom of celebrating his birthday to fall into desuetude. And then, too, the early months of the year are so long, and ofttimes tedious, that one may be glad to enliven them by taking advantage of every festival possible.
The old idea of sending a valentine in the form of a painted square of paper, containing a sentimental verse and, mayhap, a little looking-glass, has entirely gone out. But in place of this style have come others that make of valentine offerings. things of beauty and a joy as long as they last. They are souvenirs similar to those of Christmas, birthday and Easter, save that they differ in the sentiment, having on them a light line or two, or even no inscription at all save the date.