Christmas and Holiday Cards
Christmas cards made their début
in America in the 1870's, when Louis Prang, the Boston publisher of
used one of his chromolithographed trade cards as a template to
a card that read "Merry Christmas." Many other publishers
printers followed suit, and the Christmas card industry grew. Most
cards were designed anonymously or by unknown artists. However, a
artists produced cards, which are now highly sought after by
It was very popular to quote passages from the Bible, Shakespeare,
famous publications, for adding text to the cards. Writers were also
to create original Christmas greetings.
The design and type of cards made expanded very quickly. Like the
card, Christmas cards became more ornate, with use of lace, satin,
gold and silver, and other fancy decorations. Specially shaped
and three-dimensional cut outs also became popular.
The American Antiquarian Society has a collection of cards in a
of styles, with the majority having been published locally, by
Summer & Co. of Worcester. Also included are several cards
written by well-known verse writer Frances Ridley Havergal. Card
range from images of children and pets, to flowers and birds. Some
picture religious symbols, such as angels, and other cards show
Claus. Included in the Christmas Card Collection are some other
of greeting cards, such as Easter and New Years cards. This
is housed in two boxes in the Graphic Arts Department.
-Terri Tremblay, Assistant Curator of Graphic Arts
Source: Rickards, Maurice, The Encyclopedia of Ephemera. New
York: Routledge, 2000.
A Christmas card
A Christmas card published by Barnard, Summer and Co. of Worcester
For current information on the cataloging status of this and
other AAS collections, choose "Collection Access" below.