Happy Holidays! Hallmark Archives Edition
Published: December 22, 2017 by Katie Kuryla
It’s that time of year again, the holiday music has been blaring (since October pretty much), the smell of pine, fir, and cedar waft mingle with the smell of vanilla, peppermint, and cinnamon, and people are shopping, sending out cards, and watching holiday movies.
Every year christmas cards are sent out by families updating their extended family on the comings and goings of their immediate family. I remember visiting Hallmark Gold Crown stores as my parents picked out cards and I would look at the Keepsake ornaments wondering if it was something that should go on our tree. In the southern edge of Kansas City, Missouri, the Hallmark Archives is located inside the headquarters of Hallmark.
J.C. Hall, the founder of Hallmark, began assembling an antique card collection in the 1950s in the interest of creating an accurate and varied record of the historic development of the greeting card industry. The Hallmark Archives still holds this antique card collection. This is the start of what provides a visual and historical representation of greeting card history, industry and printing technologies, and for Hallmark, the archives serves as the repository for materials documenting Hallmark corporate, family and product history.
Along with serving the entire corporation and outside organizations as a source for industry history, holiday origins and graphic design trends, it also helps Hallmark by supporting current product development. The artists and writers of Hallmark often reimagine past designs based on current marketplace trends or anniversaries.
According to Samantha Bradbeer, the archivist and historian for Hallmark Cards, Inc since 2011, the archives holds:
The design collection includes advertising, chromolithographs, folios, original artwork, prints, progressive proof books and rare books from the 17th to 19th centuries.
The historical collection includes Victorian-era greeting cards representing holidays and everyday, as well as advertising and trade cards, handmade or folk art, playing cards, postcards, scrapbooks and salesman’s sample books.
The corporate collection includes Hallmark advertising, audio visual materials, correspondence, photographs, publications and oral histories from 1910 through today.
The product collection includes greeting cards and other products manufactured and sold by Hallmark from 1910 through today.
The masterworks collection includes samples of original Hallmark product art dating from the 1950s through today.
Unique items in the Hallmark Archives include medieval manuscripts, two examples of the world’s first printed Christmas card and Victorian-era Valentine puzzle purses.
Hallmark has been storing and preserving a sampling from every year and holiday or occasion. Filed away are original pieces produced by Norman Rockwell, Salvador Dali and Winston Churchill. There is also a section specifically for Presidential holiday cards; Hallmark has been commissioned by past administrations to produce the official White House holiday card. These commissions date back to President Eisenhower.It can be challenging at times to select which products to keep, but luckily our complete set of employee newsletters and product catalogs provide insight into the full product line, when needed.
If you are sending out Holiday cards this year, remember that someone might be saving them and that they could be part of a past somewhere. Happy Holidays everyone!
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