Law Library News
Feb. 14, 2005.
Have you ever wondered how we came to celebrate February 14th as a day to express affection to loved ones with greetings and gifts? The history of Valentine's Day – and its patron saint – is somewhat of a mystery. Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.
According to legend, Valentine was a priest who lived in Rome during the third century. He was put to death by Emperor Claudius II for trying to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often tortured, or for marrying young lovers in defiance of Claudius II’s decree which forbade marriage for young men who would be soldiers. As the story goes, Valentine, while in prison, fell in love with the jailor's daughter whom he befriended. Before his death, he wrote her a letter and signed it “from your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today.
The holiday also has its origins in the Roman festival of Lupercalia which was held in mid-February. The festival celebrated the coming of spring and included fertility rites and the pairing off of women and men by lottery. At the end of the fifth century, Pope Gelasius I replaced Lupercalia with St. Valentines’ Day and the day eventually came to be celebrated as a day of romance from about the fourteenth century.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, we highlight two books about romantic relationships and invite you to test your knowledge and research skills with a trivia contest.
Living Together Kit: A Legal Guide for Unmarried Couples, 12th edition, by Toni Ihara et al. (Nolo Press, 2003) (KF538.I35 2003 at Reference Area).
A Legal Guide for Lesbian and Gay Couples, 12th edition, by Hayden Curry et al. (Nolo Press, 2004) (KF538 .C87 2004 at Reference Area).
These books are authored by attorneys and published by Nolo Press, which has been publishing self-help law books for many years. Although these books are designed for non-legally trained individuals, they can still be very helpful for law students. Maybe you have a question about something in your personal life and you would rather read a straightforward concise treatment of the topic instead of a voluminous treatise.
In these books you will find information on topics such as:
Sample legal forms are included in the books (or on CD-ROM). Specific cases and statutes are cited, but readers are reminded of the importance of consulting an attorney for legal advice.
For other book reviews, visit the Book of the Week archive.
-- Mary Whisner
This week’s Trivia Contest honors Valentine’s Day. Turn in your answers (with your email address) to the Reference Office by Thursday at 5:00 and you could win a prize.