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Greeting Cards (History) by Elizabeth Morgan PDF Print E-mail

Greeting Cards

By Elizabeth Morgan

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

However, greeting cards have only been a part of the tradition of many cultures for about two centuries or a little more, to be precise. The oldest identified greeting card is a Valentine’s card made in the 1400s, which can be found in a museum in London. It was during the 19th century that greeting cards gained real status.  It was during the latter part of this century that cards got incorporated into mainstream culture, so that most of the population could actually afford it.

It was around that time that 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 the Christmas week alone. Keeping in line with this new trend were Easter, Halloween and Thanksgiving, which gained momentum as suitable occasions for card-giving.

By the late 1800s, Valentine cards were completely machine-made. The first of many saleable valentine greeting cards produced in the US was created in the 1840s.

John Calcott Horsley was the architect of the first Christmas card, and Louis Prang has come to be known as the father of Christmas greetings.  He migrated from Germany and started a small-scale lithographic unit close to Boston in the 1850s, and is generally responsible for starting the production of greeting cards in The United States.

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

In the mid 1870s, he presented the first comprehensive string of Christmas greetings to the American public.  Soon after, imitations began to engulf the market, forcing Prang out of business.  For nearly two decades after, there was a striking deterioration in greeting card production in America. Things have since turned around into what could be considered a roaring greeting card trade worldwide - a revolution of sorts has taken place.

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

Greeting Cards provides detailed information on Greeting Cards, Free Online Greeting Cards, Printable Greeting Cards, Greeting Card Stores and more. Greeting Cards is affiliated with Free Post Cards.

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