Museum keeps collection of Christmas, greeting cards

The Maple Ridge Museum’s collection include cards from the late 1920s to the 1950s.

Some of the museum’s favourite holiday cards produced by Coutts are from the 1930s

The greeting cards we exchange at Christmas or New Year’s that are so much a part of our holiday traditions have their origins in England.

The custom quickly developed in Europe, especially in Germany, because of a new printing process perfected in 1796.

Lithography, as the technique was called, could be used to reproduce large numbers of drawings or texts first drawn on a finely-textured stone.

The first postage stamp was issued in England in 1840 and the first series of envelopes decorated with Christmas designs was published the same year.

Three years later, the first greeting card appeared.

It was produced by John Calcott Horsley for Sir Henry Cole.

This card depicted a family enjoying Christmas celebrations and lifting their glasses in a toast.

The scene greatly shocked temperance workers who quickly denounced it.

The first American greeting card is said to be the work of a German lithographer, Louis Prang, who immigrated to New York around 1850.

Prang set up a workshop in Boston, Massachusetts in 1860 and began to produce the first coloured cards.

At the time, however, greeting cards were more often linked to New Year’s than to Christmas (Canadian Heritage Information Network).

Within the Maple Ridge Museum’s collection are a wide range of Christmas and greeting  cards, from the late 1920s to the 1950s.

Many of the prominent ones are from Toronto-based William E. Coutts Company Ltd., which started in 1916 as a on- man operation.

In 1931, Coutts entered into a “handshake agreement” with Mr. Joyce C. Hall of “Hall Brothers Inc.” to expand his business into America.

Their partnership flourished over time, and eventually the Hall brothers purchased 40 per cent of his company in 1948.

The Hall Brothers Company became Hallmark Cards Inc. of Kansas City, Missouri, which is one of the world’s largest privately held companies.

Some of the museums favourite holiday cards produced by Coutts are from the 1930s, and feature a Scottish terrier dog, and art deco design.

At the time, the breed was steadily becoming a favourite, linked to American president Franklin Roosevelt owning one, which spread into popular culture when Monopoly was first created in the 1930s; the dog was featured as a player token.

 

Allison White is curator at Maple Ridge Museum and Community Archives.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Woman missing out of downtown Maple Ridge

Police seek public’s help locating Atefeh Jadidian

Woman in Fraser Health region confirmed as sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

LETTER: New Maple Ridge pool is ‘fabulous’

One letter writer sings the praises of the recently renovated leisure centre in Maple Ridge

Show challenging established views of women coming to Pitt Meadows

Unapologetically HER 2020: Stripped takes place Mar. 7

Pitt Meadows Runway Cafe re-opens its doors

Operations had to be moved to make way for new terminal

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Petition seeks to remove local police department from Lindsay Buziak murder case

American woman starts online petition in hopes of helping Buziak family

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

‘Chain reaction pile up’ closes southbound traffic on Coquihalla Highway

Black Press Media has reached out to RCMP, paramedics for details

Exploding enrolment prompts opening of second TWU campus in Richmond

Langley’s faith-based Trinity Western University opens a second campus in Richmond

Fraser Valley seniors’ home residents go without meds for a night due to staff shortage

Residents speak out about staff shortages that are leading to serious safety concerns

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

Most Read