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A Valentine’s Day Search Uncovers a West Virginia Love Grump: The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, February 1856-1859

The Newspaper Project observes Valentine’s Day with a reminder of the search capacity within Virginia Chronicle and the felicities of discovery (spend a morning reading mid 19th century editorials and you’ll write like this too) therein.

From the 136 total titles digitized (that’s over 900,000 pages, a million is in sight. . .when we cross that threshold, be assured you’ll be advised) we chose a West Virginia Daily whose digitization resulted from our ongoing partnership with West Virginia University:WVA mastheadVirginia Chronicle’s pre-Civil War holdings start in 1852 and conclude seven years later, leaving seven Februarys to explore. If you select the word “Valentine” and narrow the search to the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, here’s how the results appear:search resultsMost of these hits are of proper names or modestly scaled advertisements typical of the time, like the following of 1856:WDI Feb 7, 1856Eight days later, the anti-Cupid appears:

WDI Feb. 15, 1856

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, Feb. 15, 1856

If there’s any hostility in the subterranean heart of Valentine’s Day, our writer is sensitive to it. Though this unsigned Wheeling editorialist is unroused to rancor in 1857, he resurfaces the following year. Can we be sure it’s the same writer? Oh, I think so:

WDI Feb. 6, 1858

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, Feb. 6, 1858

And again six days later:WDI Feb. 12, 1858

Reading this, one’s curiosity is powered to know more of the cultural context of Valentine’s Day in mid-19th century America. And also, what’s with this guy? Here he (I think we can assume this is not a Miss Angry Hearts) is again, twice more, February 1859:

WDI

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, Feb. 4, 1859

WDI

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, Feb. 16, 1859

One tender Valentine to our anonymous writer might have prevented all of the above.… read more »

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