Over on the Twitter account for the Libraries’ Civil War transcription crowdsourcing project, we’re taking a break from our Black History Month tweets to highlight some Valentine’s Day content, such as Albert Cross’s 1862 diary entry indicating a conflicted relationship with the holiday: “I wish the mail would come as this is Valentine’s Day. I am expecting some valentines though I can’t say I crave any.” By the next day, this ambivalence appears to have cleared up after the arrival of — spoiler alert! — the expected valentines from a not-so-secret admirer: “Yesterday I received two valentines whitch was very Interesting Indeed. I have a very good idea who they came from and I shall call on them in a few evenings and talk to them about the matter.”
James B. Weaver’s 1861 love letter to his wife is no less passionate for having been written on September 3rd rather than February 14th — romantic excerpt below, lovingly transcribed by our crowdsourcing volunteers:
…I am now writing by Candlelight, & I would be the happiest man living could I get one sweet kiss from you this night. Darling you will pardon me won’t you for writing you so much about my love for you, for I really do not feel like writing about anything else. I think of you all the time. You are constantly in my mind. O darling how much good it does my very soul to prove true to such a true woman as you are. I pledge you my word before God that I am all yours and that I would rather die at once than prove unfaithful to you. I always thought that you had more attractions for me than any woman I ever saw long yes years before I married you, but now I know you, and indeed you are tenfold more woman than I ever imagined you in my love dreams. God love you my own true, honorable, highminded wife. Darling you know that I am a man of very, very strong passions, but I pledge you my honor & my very soul before God that I am all yours, every whit. You are mine thank God. O what a [pinnacle?] love is. I am happy in loving you…
[he goes on for two more pages]
Skipping ahead a few wars, our Valentine’s slideshow linked below features a cherubic Stalin and Hitler among more familiar symbols of love:
Happy Valentine’s Day!