Last December, we shared a new collection on our showcase: 22 Christmas greeting cards sent to our co-founder, Hazel (Alpaugh) Astle, during the holiday season of 1930. That collection of cards is a special one, highlighting a period of time when greeting cards were just beginning to become an industry in the United States and “penny Christmas postcards” were on their way out of fashion and heavy production.
Twenty years after that mix of postcards and early folding cards was sent to Hazel’s home, the holiday season of 1950 brought Christmas wishes that looked and felt different, reflecting changing times and sentiments. By 1950, card manufacturers had realized that people wanted to write longer notes than most postcards could hold. The vast majority of Christmas cards were now folding cards (though much smaller and more delicate than we’re used to purchasing today). Cards with humorous, cheeky, and lighthearted sentiments and images were becoming popular. The greeting card industry was definitely booming at this point; unlike our 1930s collection, in which only a few cards are simply marked with “Made in [the] USA”, six of the cards in this collection are copyrighted by their publishers. Christmas cards were the Facebook messages and group texts of the mid-twentieth century – enormously popular ways to communicate with loved ones, and especially so at Christmastime.
This collection includes 25 of the Christmas cards that our co-founder, Hazel, received during the holiday season of 1950. Unsurprisingly, there is only one postcard in this collection, in sharp contrast with our collection of 1930 cards. The six copyrighted cards were manufactured by Rust Craft (2), Longshaw Card Company (1), Gibson Card (1), and Artistic (2).
Click here to enjoy last year’s collection of 1930 cards.
Sources: Greeting Card Association; Smithsonian Magazine; The Astle-Alpaugh Family Showcase