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Historic Christmas Cards

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

To start off the month of December, we will be exploring a selection of five Christmas & Holiday cards from the Museum's Collection. Many of these cards in our collection will be from the late 19th and early 20th century, within the times their respective publishers were active.

Our first card depicts a snowy landscape featuring a bridge going across a body of water, with trees expanding from the foreground to the distance. This picture is framed within ice, with holly and mistletoe on the top and bottom, with the text reading "XMAS - To Wish you A Merry Time" in silver and red.

This card comes from the Davidson Bros. publishing company Series 1418x. The company was started in 1901, and closed a decade later. Their locations were in London and New York, with prints manufactured in Germany.

The next card depicts a bird carrying holly in its beak, while standing on a small branch. The bird is surrounded by a gradient of gold and silver, with the text below it reading "A Merry Christmas".

This card was made by the German American Novelty Art company, from their 1190 (6. Des.) Series. Their prints were manufactured in Germany with the company's years of operation unknown, however the earliest card from them traces back to 1907.

Our third card depicts another snowy field, this time with two figures walking past the trees. One of the figures is carrying a small spruce tree while near an even larger spruce coated in snow. The text reads "Happiness for Your Christmas. The children are happy, and hoping that you. When your Christmas Tree blooms, will have happiness too." In the lower left-hand corner, the number 442F can be seen.

This card is from the Owen Card Publishing Company, with their makers mark stating "The Mark of Distinction". This company operated in Elmira, New York, with its output taking place between 1915 and 1927. The company was started specifically for greeting and holiday cards, usually printed on a linen embosser paper. Their designs ordinarily showcased large landscapes similar to this card.

The fourth card we'll be looking at features a map in the center depicting all the continents adn oceans on Earth, surrounded by holly extending from all four sides. Also seen around the map are a large sailing ship in the ocean, a locomotive coming down the tracks and billowing smoke, and a dove carrying a letter directly above it. The text reads "Tho far apart, heart speaks to heart."

The Wildt & Kray Company of London printed this card, as part of their 1085 Series. The company printed a variety of postcards between 1903 and 1915. This publisher was started by Adolph Ernst Wildt and Henry Joseph Kray.

Our final card features Santa Claus as the central figure, carrying a large sack and brandishing a stick. He is framed by a circle of snow and ice, with a spruce sprig stretching diagonally behind him. Around the frame and sprig are falling snowflakes, with the text reading "By this small card and a Greeting brought, With kindest Wish and truest Thought." Below that, the words "A Merry Christmas" are coated in snow, with "Christmas" encased in both a red box and rectangle.

This card is a Series number 59 print by the International Art Publishing Company, which operated in New York and Berlin between 1895 and 1915. This began as a subsidiary of Wolf & Co and the Art Lithographic Publishing Company, with Samuel Garre (manager of Art Lithographic) managing the company. The prints they manufactured in Germany focused on holiday an souvenir cards.



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