The History of Greeting Cards (Giveaway)

Greeting CardsGreeting Cards.  We love getting them because they make us feel special and remembered.  Many of us love sending them too, for the same reason, to let our friends and family know that we’re thinking about them.

But when did it all begin?  Why did people start sending greeting cards anyway?

The custom of sending greeting cards can be traced back to the ancient Chinese, who exchanged messages of good will to celebrate the New Year, and to the early Egyptians, who conveyed their greetings on papyrus scrolls. By the early 15th century, handmade paper Greeting Cards were being exchanged in Europe. The Germans are known to have printed New Year’s greetings from woodcuts as early as 1400, and handmade paper Valentines were being exchanged in various parts of Europe in the early to mid-15th century, with the oldest Valentine in existence being in the British Museum.

By the 1850s, the greeting card had been transformed from a relatively expensive, handmade and hand-delivered gift to a popular and affordable means of personal communication, due largely to advances in printing, mechanization, and a reduction in postal rates with the introduction of the postage stamp.  This was followed by new trends like Christmas Cards, the first of which appeared in published form in London in 1843 when Sir Henry Cole hired artist John Calcott Horsley to design Holiday Cards that he could send to his friends and acquaintances. In the 1860s, companies began the mass production of greeting cards. They employed well known artists as illustrators and card designers.

Technical developments like color lithography in 1930 propelled the manufactured greeting card industry forward. Humorous greeting cards, known as studio cards, became popular in the late 1940s and 1950s.

By the 1980s there was a thriving market for “alternative” greeting cards, like Photo Cards and Baby Announcements.

Information in this post is found at and used and modified under a creative commons license.

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Disclaimer: Cards Direct provided me with a gift code as a thank you for posting this. They are also providing the giveaway.

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