Romance in the Revolutionary City


By Claire Weaver

Even in revolutionary times, St. Valentine’s Day still meant crushes and flowers. Find out more about colonial courtship.

is for LOVE LETTERS from colonial suitors’ love letters. These were so important for wooing girls that some hopeful paramours bought instruction manuals to help them perfect their sappy notes.

is for a gentry girl’s ONLY job: finding a husband.

is for a clever young swain’s acrostical VALENTINES. They put today’s Hallmark cards to shame.

 is for the proper ETIQUETTE a colonial suitor had master to impress his crush. Eighteenth-century had standards!

Claire Weaver, a student at the College of William & Mary, is a Colonial Williamsburg Foundation intern.


More about Valentine’s Day:

Find an unusual gift for your Valentine

Valentine’s Day dining

From the Journal: Courtship, sex and the single colonist