Spotlight: Valentine’s Day Greetings and Dances

Happy Valentine’s Day from the National Archives Special Media Division!

Did you know that the oldest known printed Valentine’s Day card was published in January 1797? The verse printed on the card reads:

“Since on this ever Happy day,
All Nature’s full of Love and Play
Yet harmless still if my design,
‘Tis but to be your Valentine.”  

The 1797 card, in addition to over six hundred other Valentine’s cards, are held by the York Museums Trust.

Within the United States, the first mass-produced Valentines were not sold until 1848 by Esther Howland. Hallmark didn’t even begin selling Valentine’s Day postcards until 1910 and it wasn’t until 1916 that the company began printing their own Valentine’s Day greeting cards designs.

In celebration of this year’s Valentine’s Day, we have digitized Valentine’s Day-themed photographs held in the Still Picture Branch. The photographs span multiple record groups and show Valentine’s Day greetings and dances.

Record Group 111: Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer
Original Caption: WAC Valentine, Pfc. Dorothy LeRoy, on duty at Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, D.C.
Local photo ID number: 111-C-2923 (NAID 350912994)
Original Caption: Cpl. Jeanne Meyer is the Mistress of Ceremonies for the Army Navy Magazine.
Local photo ID number: 111-C-3155 (NAID 350912993)

Original Caption: Red Cross Valentine Party for inmates of Station Hospital, Camp Wheeler, Georgia, February, 1943. (LtoR): Miss Beverly Tomasson, Stanley Wutko, Roger Roberts, Miss Josephine Mardell, R.J. Stryder, and Miss Virginia Meyers.
Local photo ID number: 111-SC-165918-S
Photographer: L.J. Dougall
Original Caption: Fifth Army, Lucca Area, Italy. Sgt. Harold Ball, 671 Med. Coll. Co., reading and ARC worker Miss Mary Brothers, from Ashland, KY., examines the Valentine she just received.
Local photo ID number: 111-SC-201802
Photographer: Kosseff
Date: February 8, 1945
Original Caption: Service men and French girls participating in the Grand March at Valentine’s Day Masquerade Dance, Beachaven Red Cross Club, New Caledonia. Requested by Publicity Director, ARC, for PRO release.
Local photo ID number: 111-SC-374790
Photographer: Bushnell
Date: February 12, 1945
Original Caption: Dancing at the Valentine party held at the A.R.C., Brisbane, Q’land, Australia.
Local photo ID number: 111-SC-310210
Photographer: Pvt. Roger Feuereisen
Date: February 14, 1945

Record Group 162: General Records of the Federal Works Agency

Record Group 210: Records of the War Relocation Authority
Original Caption: Ise Inuzuka, 23, formerly of Portland, Oregon. Graduate of Franklin High School, Portland, Reed College, and University of Oregon. Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Takashi Inuzuka. Works in welfare office as social case worker. Chosen Sweetheart of Minidoka in St. Valentine’s Day competition staged through out Minidoka Relocation Center by the Minidoka Irrigator, center newspaper. February 1943.

Local photo ID number: 210-CMA-B-1
Original Caption: Sweetheart of Minidoka and her attendants chosen by popular vote in the St. Valentine’s Day contest sponsored by the Minidoka Irrigator, center newspaper. Left to right: Mona Saito, Portland; Kiyoka Kumagai, Seattle; Amy Hidaka, Seattle; Misao Hayashida, Seattle; Chickie Ishihara, Seattle; Mary Jane Kinoshita, Seattle.

Local photo ID number: 210-CMA-B-2
Standing left to right: Kiyoka Kumagai, Amy Hidaka, Mona Saito, Chickie Ishihara.
Seated left to right: Misao Hayashida, Ise Inozuka, Mary Jane Kinoshita.

Local photo ID number: 210-CMA-B-2A

Record Group 69: Records of the Work Projects Administration
Original Caption: Refugee children making Valentine’s in Lawler High School. February 1937.

Local photo ID number: 69-N-3892

Record Group 80: General Records of the Department of the Navy

Original Caption: Eunice Healey, terpsichorean virtuoso, chats with Walsh, Chester; Clements, Tommy; Burdick, Wade; and During, Kenneth; at Valentine Dance held at Wardman Park Hotel, in Washington, D.C. February 15, 1945

Local photo ID number: 80-G-48123

Original Caption: Cdr. B.P. Day presents Elaine Harrison with prize for selling most tickets to Navy dance at Wardman Park Hotel. February 15, 1945

Local photo ID number: 80-G-48124

Record Group 127: Records of the U.S. Marine Corps
Original Caption: Twenty re-enlisted men flown in from Pearl for their 90 day furlough greeted by WRs with Valentine of oranges. San Diego.

Local photo ID number: 127-N-402825
Photographer: Daly
Date: February 5, 1946
Original Caption: Happy Birthday, Valentine Greetings and Best Wishes to all —-from the Lady Marines of Boston’s own 2nd Infantry Battalion, USMCR. Under the Command of First Lieutenant Marjorie B. MacKinnon, USMCR, of Worcester, Mass., center of heart, the Lady Leathernecks wave their good wishes to all on the 10th Anniversary of Women Marines.

Local photo ID number: 127-N-A240011
Photographer: TSgt. H. Michael McMahon
Date: February 1, 1953

Original Caption: Marines’ Maui Liberty and Landing (First Post-War) — Pointing across the bay to where the city of Wailuku, Maui, snuggles close to the island mountains, one of the “Sweethearts of the Valley Isle,” “Miss Marine” shows Corporal George L. King, of New York, where the center of Liberty activities of sailors and Marine lay. That night the first annual Valentine’s dance of the “Sweethearts” was held and the Maui misses hosted numbers of Marines and Sailors.

Local photo ID number: 127-N-A22002
Photographer: Cpl. Luis Gil, Jr.
Date: February 12, 1953

Original Caption: Marines’ Maui Liberty and Landing (First Post-War) — Lone casualty of the Troops that “hit the beach” in Maui island exercise was Technical Sergeant Donald Barnhart, left, of Pittsburgh, Pa., who injured his hand while re-boarding the USS Cavalier at conclusion of the “operations.” Prior to taking advantage of the Valentine’s Day liberty call, he was among Marines who met the “Sweethearts of the Valley Isle” that aloha-ed Marines and sailors aboard. With him are the Misses “Marine” and “Maui” and Sergeant Edward H. Zoromsky, of Stover’s Point, Wis.

Local photo ID number: 127-N-A22003
Photographer: Cpl. Luis Gil, Jr.
Date: February 12, 1953

Record Group 64: Records of the National Archives and Records Administration
Local photo ID number: 64-NA-5610 (NAID 35810662)
Local photo ID number: 64-NA-6511 (NAID 35810664)


Generally, copies of photographic records held by the National Archives may be published without special permission or additional fees. The National Archives does not grant exclusive or non-exclusive publication privileges. Copies of Federal records, as part of the public domain, are equally available to all. A small percentage of photographs in our holdings are or may be subject to copyright restrictions. The National Archives does not confirm the copyright status of photographs but will provide any information known about said status. It is the user’s responsibility to obtain all necessary clearances. Any use of these items is made at the researcher’s or purchaser’s own risk.

Proper credit lines are encouraged in the interest of good documentation. They also help inform the public about government photographic resources that are available.

*Because so many of our requests for information cite credits and captions that appear in published works, the inclusion of a photo number in hard copy and electronic publications is of great assistance to both us and the public.

Examples of preferred credit lines are as follows:

National Archives photo no. 64-NA-6511

Credit National Archives (photo no. 127-N-A240011)

Courtesy National Archives, photo no. 210-CMA-B-2A

National Archives (111-SC-374790)

2 thoughts on “Spotlight: Valentine’s Day Greetings and Dances

  1. Had to laugh at the caption for 80-G-48123, which implies that there was someone named Terpsichorean Virtuoso. Assuming that the Navy guys were dancers, it should probably should read something like “Eunice Healey chats with terpischorean virtuosos.” Eunice Healey was herself a terpsichorean virtuoso.

    1. Hi Patrick,

      Glad you got a laugh out of it, haha. The original caption does have arrows that make the caption unnecessarily confusing to read (and it misspelled Eunice’s name as Munice). We’ve updated the caption!


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