Some found this correspondence to be rather time-consuming.
In 1843, one enterprising Englishman named Henry Cole had the
brilliant stroke of contracting with a local printer to produce
a hand-colored card with a cheery greeting to which he could simply
sign his name and send off. These printed holiday cards were an
instant success. It took just a few years for the Americans to
produce pre-printed holiday greetings. By 1860, Boston entrepreneur
Louis Prang offered colored cards. Chromolithography, a lithographic
process allowed cards to be printed in beautiful colors, spurred
the production of ornate pieces. By the 1880s, ordinary
folks could afford brightly-printed holiday greetings. And
those with a quirky sense of humor could find just the right comic
card to send as well!
The Henry Ford's collection of holiday cards
is very large, numbering over 5000 ranging in date from about
1860 to the present. American card designers have continued to
offer a huge array of designs to fit every taste and economic
circumstance. War time issues gravely affected card design and
motifs and somber
greetings were a regular feature found on cards during the
Second World War.
In addition to traditional seasons greetings, our collections
also contain some surprising holiday cards. Funky art
deco-inspired cards, modern
avant-garde artwork, or cards featuring airplanes
were printed decades ago. Just as today, for every interest and
sensibility, there was a seasonal greeting. There's nothing new
We hope you'll continue to enjoy our "pic of the month"
in 2004. We look forward to sharing more things from our collections
that offer a different perspective on American life and times,
yesterday and today.
Nancy E.V. Bryk, Curator