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Feb. 18, 1936: My bloody valentine

Posted by: Ben Welter under Minnesota History Updated: February 14, 2013 - 6:29 PM


In far harder times — the Great Depression — a blood-covered plate teeming with germs was apparently an acceptable valentine. The Minneapolis Star put this bizarre, um, brite on page one:


  A positive staph infection graces this agar plate of more recent vintage.


Deadly Germs Form Valentine

He’s “bugs” about her – that’s what Dr. Rudoph Kouchy, fanciful University of Minnesota bacteriologist, apparently meant in a valentine to one of his students, Geraldine Lundquist.

The whimsical doctor constructed his missive of love from pure culture germs on a blood-covered agar plate, and placed it in the incubator.

In the morning when his student removed it, it had turned into a large, white heart with a lacy border and on it was inscribed – in germs – “Gerry,” and “Be My Valentine.” The doctor had inscribed his design with an inoculating wire.

The doctor was sure of his recipient, because only a trained technician could handle such a missive, because the concentrated fluid of deadly germs might be fatal if touched by hand.



[Originally posted in February 2009]


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