Til Death Do Us Part
- Love Lessons from the Civil War



Perhaps no memento so perfectly captures the essence of an entire era as the valentine does for the Victorians. Here, hidden within undulating paper curves of these charmingly conceived, lovingly crafted tokens of affection ~ the more elaborate the better ~ lie fascinating clues to the gilded age in which the valentine was transformed from mere ephemera into art.

For behind the lavish decorations stood not just the secrets of Victorian hearts but of Victorian society as well. Valentines were among the few tokens that could freely be exchanged between men and women, and much was read between the lines, or in this instance, the hearts and flowers. Depending upon the elaborateness of the lace filigree, the number of cupids, or the cleverness of imported "trick" valentines, a hopeful young lady could measure the true emotional involvement of her suitors. Gazing upon a Victorian valentine is to return for at least a moment to a more romantic era. To hold one today, as fragile as a dream, is to know as the nineteenth century poet Kathrine Lee Bates did,

"Old love is gold love,
old love, the best."

~Sarah Ban Breathnach
Victorian Family Celebrations~


This book is arranged into five sections:
  • A Brief History of Valentines Day in America
  • Civil War Era Commercial Valentines
  • February in the War
  • Love Letters from Soldiers
  • Civil War Era Poems and Love Songs