Reference Blog Entries

Valentine's Day Candy

Laura's picture

What will you give your sweetie for Valentine’s Day?  Will it be candy? The odds are good it will be.   Image - Candy Conversation Hearts

Take this quiz to see how much you know about the custom. 

The answers, which may be found at the bottom of this page, are taken from an article on Valentine's Day Candy in the library database called Daily Life through History. Read the article by clicking on the icon for the database below.   (You may need to enter your library card number and PIN to access the database.)  

  • Question #1 - Do scholars know when candy became a traditional gift for Valentine’s Day?
  • Question #2 - What British chocolate maker is credited with introducing the first box of Valentine’s Day chocolates?
  • Question #3 - In what decade did the New England Confectionary Company ( NECCO) begin selling conversation hearts for Valentine’s Day?
  • Question # 4 - About how many conversation hearts (aka Sweethearts) does the company now make in the six weeks prior to Valentine’s Day?  Is it
    • ​800,000
    • 8 billion
    • 1 million
  • Question #5 - True or False: serotonin and endorphins are found in small amounts in chocolate and are part of the reason we love chocolates on Valentine’s Day and throughout the year.

Happy Munching!

Logo for Daily Life through History database





  1. Answer 1 – No.  Precisely when candy became the traditional gift given on Valentine’s Day is unclear
  2. Answer 2 – In the 1860s, Richard Cadbury introduced the first Valentine’s Day box of chocolates in England.
  3. Answer 3 – One of the earliest American Valentine’s Day candies was invented by the one of the predecessors of the New England Confectionery Company ( NECCO), which began manufacturing Conversation Hearts in the 1860s. These heart-shaped candies were renamed Sweethearts in 1902. By the twenty-first century,
  4. Answer 4 –  NECCO produces about 8 billion Sweethearts each year, virtually all within six weeks before Valentine’s Day, and they are the best-selling Valentine’s Day candy in the world.
  5. Answer 5 – Chemicals found in small amounts in chocolate are anandamide, serotonin, endorphins, and phenylethylamine ( PEA); in the human brain these chemicals create positive feelings. 

The Great Black Migration

Laura's picture

Logo - Great Black Migration database

Do you know about the Great Black Migration? Between 1916 and 1970 over six million African Americans relocated from the segregated South to the large cities in the North. By relocating, they escaped the oppression of “Jim Crow” laws in the South, but often met with other forms of discrimination, such as “white flight”, in the North. 

In her book The Warmth of Other Suns; the Epic Story of America’s Great Migration , Isabel Wilkerson describes in riveting detail the perils and pleasures of the journey northward for three individuals and their families. In the stories of these people there is a direct line of powerlessness and unfair treatment that resonates in the news stories of today. There is also the pride of hard-won gains.

The library owns a database called The Great Black Migration . It has recently been updated. If you are curious about this facet of American history you may want to take a look at it. 

As with all the library’s databases, there is a wealth of factual information for research reports. There is a section on primary documents of the period.  They include but are not limited to:

The most significant events from Reconstruction to the 1990s are covered by a timeline that includes but is not limited to:

  • Harlem Renaissance
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965
  • Assassination of Malcolm X
  • Return Migration

Finally, there are articles by expert historians on a wide range of topics within this field of interest some of which are:

Both the book and the database will increase your awareness of this important aspect of U.S. history.