Love & Courtship Quotes for Valentine’s Day

Introduction: In this article, Mary Harrell-Sesniak searches old newspapers to find some of our ancestors’ sayings about love and courtship. Mary is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background.

What’s old is always new again as many a genealogist will note – and when we read old newspapers, we stumble upon many quotes that are long forgotten and seem new to us.

A love poem, Cape Ann Light and Gloucester Telegraph newspaper article 31 March 1849
Cape Ann Light and Gloucester Telegraph (Gloucester, Massachusetts), 31 March 1849, page 2

Well, it’s time to revive the witticism of our ancestors – even if so many authors are not identified or are known only by an abbreviated name, such as Clara’s poetry from 1849:

“Sly Cupid shoots a fatal dart,
When friends have met together;
Soon Friendship ripens into Love,
But Love in Friendship, never.”

In the list that follows, I’m sharing over 25 of my favorite quotes on love, all found in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives. In most cases, it’s impossible to determine the first printing in a newspaper, so except for this first example, I’ve transcribed them showing the earliest year I found them. As many will note, they could have been coined on other dates, but it’s interesting to see how old they really are. Enjoy!

An article about relations between the sexes, Advocate newspaper article 7 November 1924
Advocate (Kansas City, Kansas), 7 November 1924, page 3
  • A kiss in time is fine! –1910
  • A love match has to have its flare-ups. –1913
  • A person who courts and runs away may be hauled to court some day. –1919
  • A person’s heart, like the moon, should have one person in it. –1906
  • An engaged couple prefer lip to lip silence rather than a heart to heart talk. –1913
  • Courtship is a glass through which we see darkly. –1894
  • Cupid shoots a rifle now, and not with bows and arrows. Else how is it that girls can hear the popping of the question? –1867
  • His first love and his first shave are two of the things which occur in the life of every man which is never forgotten. –1898
  • If a man’s attempts at flattery has no effect on a woman, it’s time to say goodnight. –1913
  • If you call on a girl and she requests her little brother to recite to you, the hint is quite sufficient. –1906
  • Introduce common sense into a love affair and it will have lost its flavor. –1911
  • It is said that a person can truly love but once, but the average person does a lot of experimenting. –1901
  • It’s a deplorable fact that there can only be one first kiss. –1902
  • It’s as hard to hide indifference as it is to conceal love. –1899
  • Love and common sense seldom trot on the same tract. –1908
  • Love is blind to the awkwardness of all situations. –1912
  • Love’s first sight is wisdom’s last. –1917
  • Marrying for love may be just a tender delusion. –1900
  • Marrying too young is a mistake hard to repeat. –1899
  • One pair in the front parlor beats three of one kind. –1907
  • People do not marry for money, but they say it is easier to love a rich person than a poor one. –1890
  • People who celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary must be in favor of free silver. –1901
  • People who marry for looks seldom get good cooks. –1908
  • Romance is like fire – if you play with it you are likely to get burned. –1906
  • Two is company and three is a divorce. –1910
  • What a lovely world this is the first time you fall in love. –1908
  • When Cupid meets a woman, he smiles and sits down. –1894
  • When in love, our weight may decrease as our desires increase. –1900

If you are looking for a fun Valentine gift with quotes for the genealogist in your life, think about ordering my book, “Where there’s a will, there’s always a genealogist!

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