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. Rudolph 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]