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Vintage Thanksgiving Greeting Cards

Updated on November 1, 2012

The first greeting card was created by John Calcott Horsley for his client, Sir Henry Cole, in 1843. Greetings around holiday time were common and this was the first commercially printed effort and it was considered quite the novelty. But they didn’t really catch on in England until a few years later when the Penny Post was born and it was suddenly very inexpensive to send a greeting card.

The United States soon started their own version of Penny Post and began importing cards from England celebrating Christmas, Easter and New Years. But of course, they had no Thanksgiving cards, so it wasn’t until the 1880’s that Thanksgiving cards were being created in the US. The cards were surprisingly popular, more popular than Thanksgiving cards today. These were mostly not conventional cards that needed envelopes but small post cards that could be mailed very cheaply.

Ellen Clappsaddle and other popular artists of the day published many different Thanksgiving cards each year with Pilgrims, turkeys and the thanksgiving feast as common themes. Cute children and harvest themes were also popular.


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