Greeting cards

Greeting cards

The ritual of sending greeting cards can be traced back to the early Chinese, who exchanged messages of goodwill to carry each New Year, and to the ancient Egyptians, who communicated their good wishes on papyrus scrolls.

However, greeting cards have been part of the tradition of many cultures for only about two centuries or a little more to be exact. The oldest identified greeting card is a Valentine card made in 1400 which can be found in a museum in London. In the 19th century, greeting cards gained real status. In the second half of this century, cards were incorporated into mainstream culture so that most of the population could actually afford them.

Around this time cheap printing came into being and a new trade for printers and artists was born. Soon after, post offices were inundated with millions (literally) of letters during Christmas week alone. Keeping pace with this new trend were Easter, Halloween, and Thanksgiving, which gained momentum as appropriate occasions for handing out cards.

Until the late 1800s, Valentine’s cards were entirely machine-made. The first of many salable Valentine’s Day greeting cards produced in the United States was created in 1840.

John Calcott Horsley was the architect of the first Christmas card and Louis Prang is known as the father of Christmas greetings. He had migrated from Germany and started a small lithography shop near Boston in 1850 and was largely responsible for starting the production of greeting cards in the United States.

His lithographic techniques, including color, were so advanced that he had no competition from artists and craftsmen. In the 1870s, he came up with exclusive editions of Christmas greetings that became an instant hit in Britain.

In the mid-1870s, he introduced the first comprehensive series of Christmas greetings to the American public. Soon after, imitations began to engulf the market, forcing Prang out of business. For nearly two decades thereafter, there was a striking decline in the production of greeting cards in America. Since then, things have evolved into what could be considered a roaring global greeting card trade – a revolution of sorts.

Today, there are paper cards in every size and for every occasion. There are even e-cards and digital postcards.

#Greeting #cards

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *