Holiday Greetings

Call me old-fashioned, but I still mail out Christmas cards every year. The tradition certainly seems to have waned – and evolved – over time, with online services making it a faster, less hands-on operation for those wanting to share holiday wishes. And of course, there’s no need to send a card to keep in touch with distant friends and family thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I suppose, but it sure is fun to open the mailbox and find one of those colorful greetings!

In early 1900s New York, Christmas and New Year’s cards could be purchased from street peddlers for a penny! (They’ve gone up a bit in price since then.)

Christmas Card vendor, New York. Photo by Bain News Service, undated. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ggbain.03036

Christmas Card vendor, New York. Photo by Bain News Service, undated. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ggbain.03036

Early Christmas cards contained a mix of imagery, not always focused on snowy scenes and Santa Claus or Christmas trees, as evidenced by the examples from the Prints and Photographs Division’s collections below:

Prang's Christmas cards. Chromolithograph copyrighted by L. Prang & Co, 1886. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pga.07908

Prang’s Christmas cards. Chromolithograph copyrighted by L. Prang & Co, 1886. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pga.07908

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Chromolithograph, between 1880 and 1890. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.39628

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Chromolithograph, between 1880 and 1890. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.39628

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year. Chromolithograph, between 1880 and 1890. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.40207

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year. Chromolithograph, between 1880 and 1890. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.40207

Postman. Photo by Bain News Service, undated. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ggbain.30190

Postman. Photo by Bain News Service, undated. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ggbain.30190

Regardless of the image on the card, I hope the tradition of mailing holiday greetings is one that mounts a comeback. (The postman in the photo at right may disagree!)

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2 Comments

  1. Jack C. Templeton Jr.
    December 23, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    The photos and post cards really grab at your imagination and
    curiosity.

  2. zal latskovich
    December 23, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    Thanks for sharing, beautiful images!

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