In light of the approaching holidays, here’s a selection from our Special Collections, a mail-order catalogue for Christmas cards from 1928. Provided to church and benevolent organizations, Mrs. A.A. Gutgesell credits her seventeen years in the novelty business that “…enable me to develop a line of merchandise which cannot be equalled for material, individuality, workmanship and price.”
Operating out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, it is clear that Gutgesell’s company focused on the market provided by community organizations involved in fund-raising. See for example an advertisement placed in the Boy Scouts of America magazine “A Boy’s Life” here.
The catalogue includes numerous samples of greeting cards, labels and party favours for order by mail. Trends in graphic design, fashion, gender roles, gift-giving and culture are evident in this time capsule of commodified tradition.
“Everyone uses Christmas Cards, Enclosure Cards, Seals, Ribbon and Tissue Paper at Christmas time, and you will realize the great convenience of ordering by this method at your own leisure, in your own home, and away from crowded stores.”
Catalogue record available here.
For more information about the historical development of greeting cards and specifically Christmas cards, see:
- American Christmas cards, 1900-1960/ Kenneth L. Ames
- A token of my affection: greeting cards and American business culture / Barry Shank.
- Carte de voeux 2009 (short animated film) Jean-François Lévesque
- The compleat Jane Grabhorn : a hodge-podge of typographic ephemera, three complete books, broadsides, invitations, greetings, place cards.
- The History of the Christmas Card / György Buday
- Inventing Christmas : how our holiday came to be / Jock Elliott.