Today in history, St. Valentine’s Day, the feast day of two Christian martyrs named Valentine: one a priest and physician, the other the Bishop of Terni. Both are purported to have been beheaded on this day. The custom of sending handmade ‘valentines’ to one’s beloved became popular during the 17th century and was first commercialized in the United States in the 1840s.
Today in history, James Polk (see picture below) becomes the first U.S. President to be photographed in office by Matthew Brady in 1848.
Today in history, Esther Morris (see picture below) becomes the world’s first female justice of the peace in 1870.
Today in history, Rival inventors Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell both apply for patents for the telephone in 1876.
Today in history, The “Missouri Kid” is captured in Kansas in 1904.
Today in history, A Chicago gang war between Al Capone and George “Bugs” Moran (see picture below) culminates with several Moran confederates being gunned down in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929.
Today in history, Germany launches the battleship Bismarck in 1939.