22nd June 2015 Ghazzala Zubair

A Brief History of the Greeting Card, Part 1

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By our guest contributor, Scott Pearce.

The history of greeting cards dates back to the ancient Chinese, who would use greetings cards to exchange messages of happiness and good will for the Chinese New Year. Greeting Cards were also used in Ancient Egypt as well, with personal messages written on paper scrolls.

In the early 1400’s, paper cards made their way to Europe, with the first cards being those celebrating New Year. New Years woodcut cards were the first printed by the Germans, which soon was followed by Valentines Cards, which were being distributed and sent throughout Europe. However the only problem with greeting cards back then is they were expensive and seen as a premium. These premium greeting cards would be difficult to obtain and to coincide with this all the greeting cards would be sent by hand by the recipient, making this an even more painful task. The oldest ever-recorded greeting card still around today is showcased in the British Museum in London, which is a Valentines Card sent in the 1400’s.

Sir Henry Cole 

Sir Henry Cole was a famous designer known for the invention of the first commercial Christmas card in Victorian times in 1843. The release date for this card was coincidental as in the same year a fellow Victorian known as Charles Dickens wrote the famous tale ‘A Christmas Carol’, which inevitably became a huge success, as even nowadays it is one of the most famous Carols in history. The famous words of ‘Merry Christmas’ used within the novel are now on most christmas cards, and is of course a typical saying to greet people around Christmas time.

Sir Henry’s card, designed by John Callcott Horsely, convey three generations of a family toasting the card’s recipient with scenes of charity work and helping of the poor which was displayed on the outer edge of the card.

This invention by Sir Henry has been used for hundreds of years, and still plays a vital role in society today with billions of cards sent every year all around the globe. Cole’s Christmas card has set the trend for innovative designers all over the world to create their own cards and become thortful people.

Check in soon for Part 2!

Image by Robert Galbraith for Reuters’ “Our World Now”. Taken during a victory parade for the World Series Champions, the San Francisco Giants in San Francisco, California. We do love ourselves a good excuse to throw a ‘congratulations for the win’ party. 

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