|Stephanie Grace Whitson|
A footnote from history
by Stephanie Grace Whitson
Only 13 days until Christmas, and some of us are feeling the pressure. Did you know that holiday stress produced the first Christmas card? Neither did I ... until reading a Smithsonian article about the first published card (pictured below.)
|The first Christmas card. 1843.|
The answer, Sir Cole decided, was to have an artist friend sketch a scene and then have 1,000 copies printed on stiff cardboard. Adding "To" at the top and "From" at the bottom, allowed Sir Cole to personalize the greeting.
An industry began--as did controversy (everyone has an opinion about everything, and that's not new). The temperance movement folks thought Cole was encouraging underage drinking (note the child in the foreground sipping from what looks like a wine glass). But the idea caught on, and within a few years, other Victorians had copied Sir Henry's idea and were sending cards of their own.
Our American Christmas card industry began back in the early 1900s, when Joyce Hall's postcard-printing company produced its first holiday post card. We all know about the Halls, who changed the company name to Hallmark about ten years after producing that first holiday post card.
You can see a lovely online exhibit of vintage Christmas post cards here: http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/xmas2/.
The card at left from my personal collection, is postmarked 1915. The message told the recipient that she had received a subscription to "Comfort" as a gift and wished "that its monthly visits may never cease to cheer and comfort you."
In the spirit of the gift-giving season, I'll send a copy of either A Patchwork Christmas or A Basket Brigade Christmas to two readers who join the conversation (and who provide a way to contact them for their shipping address).
Here's the topic:
Do you send real or virtual Christmas cards? How do you decide on a design or a message?
Stephanie Grace Whitson is the author of nearly thirty books, including two Christmas novellas featured in these collections published by Barbour.
Learn more at www.stephaniewhitson.com