History of Christmas Cards

Christmas Cards by the Decade

Page Ten

During the 1930's, flats (single-sided cards) were still being used, but eventually ceased. The last use of a flat in my collection has an envelope postmarked 1938, but that's not to say when the last production was. However, it was in the 1930's that the modern style greeting card began to flourish. The folded card became the typical style used for greeting cards. The front cover of the folded cards display an artistic design and a short greeting. Upon opening the card the recipient reads a message wishing the best of the season. They were made of sheets of paper stock or parchment and usually folded four times. Card made of heavy stock cards were only folded once over.

The most common type of card used was known as 'Counter Cards'. They were purchased over the counter at the store after being selected from a sample album. They were usually selected for their design and sentiment and were hand-signed by the sender. One could also purchase "personal greeting cards", which were ordered from the printers and had the sender's name printed on the front, or inside, of the card. "Private cards" were made-to-order by the sender. These were usally designed by the sender and sent off to be engraved and printed. Christmas cards were also accompanied with an envelope for mailing. In the 1930's, the interior of some envelopes were either printed with a design or inlaid with a lining, the same as in the previous decade. This practice faded during the 1930's, to the rejoice of many publishers.

Photo type personal greeting cards are fairly rare from this decade, but the tradition continued for the following decades till today, evolving along the way. These cards contained a photo of the sending family, or just the children, with either a printed or hand-written message. The card was placed in a stamped envelope and mailed. The 'real photo postcard' continued to be popular with families. By this time the entire family was pictured on the 'real-photo postcard', and not necessarily in a pose with Santa Claus. Photos from the family album could be brought to a printer who could produce either a greeting card or postcard.

You can find many Christmas cards from this decade poking fun at the Depression or Prohibition. Many others are of a religious nature, usually with a nativity or church scene. Others have a peaceful winter outdoors scene, a snowbound village, Scottie dogs (probably inspired after F.D.R.'s famous pet Fala) and, of course, there is Santa Claus. Hall Brothers (Hallmark) cards became more ornate, incorporating the use of gold foil, glitter, flocking, ribbons, die cuts, cellophane windows, and feathers. Popeye even appeared on a Hall Brothers card in the late 1930's.

In 1931 Hallmark printed its first color card, designed by Ethelwyn Hill. A year later a licencing agreement was reached with Walt Disney for the rights to use its characters. This was a first for both companies. The company continued to grow, and by 1936 employeed about 800 people. So in that year Headquarters was relocated, and moved to a building located at 25th and Grand Ave. Their first offset press was purshased in 1936. Hallmark was now doing gold stamping, silk-screening, cellophane wrapping and imprinting with a Kinsley machine for the first time. 1939 saw the first employee card shop open up.

By 1936, the Sapirstein Card Company (American Greetings) had its own manufacturing plant and was printing its own cards. The depression did not have an adverse effect on the company as people continued to purchase greeting cards during these years. This new plant gave the company the oppertunity to work with their choice of papers, art, envelopes, and sentiments. It was now possible to create a style of its own.

View 1930's Gallery 1 examples BY CLICKING HERE

View 1930's Gallery 2 examples BY CLICKING HERE

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