Archived Story

Greeting cards have rich history

Published 5:17pm Saturday, December 29, 2012

I know we are officially past Christmas day now, but if you are like me you still have that wide array of cards creatively displayed somewhere in your home or office. We tape ours to the front of our pantry door, and it is fun to watch the variety grow.

From funny to serious or formal the cards convey a message of cheer that the holiday season brings out in people.  I love the tradition of both sending and receiving.

At the Home for the Holidays event we hosted in November, the Mower County Historical Society created a festive display that told how the tradition of sending cards at the holidays came about.  A portion of their display told of the invention of the cards: “In 1843, Sir Henry Cole, the director of the Victoria and Albert Museum (in England) was too busy to respond to all the letters sent by friends and family.  In order to respond to everyone, he created the Christmas Card — a mass mailing of holiday cheer.  The solution to his problem was found in an old school project called ‘Christmas pieces’ in which he folded paper with Christmas designs to look like a book.  Cole asked an artist friend to paint a picture of a family celebrating around the table with two side pictures to remind people about the needs of the poor during Christmas.  The card became very popular — even Queen Victoria began sending official cards from the palace.”

Another piece I found interesting was the history of the Christmas card in America.  “A man born in Germany, Louis Prang, printed the first Christmas card in the United States.  He worked as a printer and immigrated to Boston in the 1850’s.”  At the urging of some Europeans who liked his work he began printing his designs on Christmas cards in his lithograph shop in the early 1870’s.  He is known as the “Father of the American Christmas Card.”

The Hormels participated in the tradition of sharing a greeting at Christmastime.  George and Lillian offered this greeting on a card dated 1943:  “As long as we keep faith / And hope lives in the hearts of men / There will always be a Christmas / And Peace will come again —  The Season’s Greetings from Mr. and Mrs. Geo. A. Hormel.”

And in 1945 Jay and Germaine sent this message, “May God bless you with a Christmas of Good Cheer and a NewYear of Greater happiness. The Hormels.”

Thank you to the Historical Society for teaching us how the Christmas card began! In this electronically dominated culture we live in, I hope the long tradition of sending cards through snail mail never stops.

 What’s Happening at the HHH

January Social Concerns-Mower Refreshed

10 a.m., Jan. 15, Sandy Anderson will offer us the opportunity to learn about the initiative’s history, wellness challenges that are being focused on and updates on how citizens can become involved and stay informed on the ever-evolving efforts of Mower Refreshed.

 Austin Wedding Showcase

The premiere wedding resource for all those busy planning brides will be held at the HHH from noon to 3 p.m. on Jan. 27. The fashion show presented by Belles & Beaus and VeDeyo Arts will begin at 2 and will once again feature the Austin Bruins players.  Admission is $3


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