February 14, 1852


Detail of Cover of Gleason’s Pictorial, February, 1852

Sat Feb 14th  Finished Olivers shirt before dinner and did

some mending  About three went into Edwins and trimmed

a black silk cravat for Oliver  Mrs S Ames & Frederic

returned from New Bedford to night where they have been

since Tuesday  I spent most of the evening there

Evelina’s favorite periodicals, such as Gleason’s Pictorial, Godey’s Lady’s Magazine, and Graham’s, were full of allusions to Valentine’s Day this week. Gleason’s featured a valentine on its cover, in fact.  And while commercial Valentine cards hadn’t yet developed in the United States – that would happen in the 1870s – special letters and personal poems were popular on February 14. Yet Evelina makes no mention of receiving or sending a valentine, nor does she suggest that any of her children did, either.

Perhaps when Evelina went over to see Augusta Pool Gilmore, young bride of Evelina’s nephew Edwin Williams Gilmore, she found evidence of a valentine exchange between the newlyweds. Besides being in love and – presumably – open to sentimental expression, Augusta and Edwin were young enough to adopt new approaches to holidays that older Yankees like Evelina and Oakes ignored.

Meanwhile, winter was still very much present. As Old Oliver noted: “there was about half an inch of snow last night and it is cloud[y] + cold to day wind north west”

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