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On the Porch

The Christmas card is often sent as part of the traditional celebration of the holiday season in order to convey between people a range of sentiments related to the holiday season. Over a billion Christmas cards are sent annually in the United States. A leader in the greeting card business, Hallmark, got its start in the 1910s, but it was in 1928 that the company began marketing its brand by using the Hallmark name on the back of every card. Company founder, J.C. Hall, was intrigued by the word “hallmark” used by goldsmiths as a mark of quality. Mr. Hall liked that the word not only said quality, but also included his family name.

According to Hallmark, the world’s first known Christmas card appeared in London in 1843, when Sir Henry Cole hired painter and illustrator, John Calcott Horsley, to design a holiday card to send to his friends and acquaintances. Lithographer, Louis Prang, a Prussian immigrant who started a small printing business near Boston in the late 1850s, is generally considered the father of the American Christmas card. Prang published his first Christmas card for his customers in 1875, a simple flower design with the words, “Merry Christmas.”

Prang continued to publish his popular cards until the 1890s, when inexpensive imported postcards from Germany swamped the market and forced him to turn to other publishing ventures. The imported penny Christmas postcard remained popular in the United States until the outbreak of World War I, which closed off the market from German imports, and spurred the birth of the American greeting card industry.

The photograph featured this week is a Christmas card in the Lyon County Museum’s collection. The card was mailed to E.V. Molle of Marshall in December 1952.

The annual Holiday Home Tour is Sunday, Dec. 3. The tour is 1-4 p.m. The Lyon County Museum opens at noon the day of the tour. Refreshments and holiday cookies and other goodies will be at the museum for home tour participants. Homeowners for the 2023 Holiday Home Tour include: Dennis and Carol White, Lorraine Reiter and Dawn Lee, and Tim and Donna Swenson. Tickets are $20 each and are available only at the Lyon County Museum.

Holiday Fun Day at the Museum is Saturday, Dec. 9, from noon to 3 p.m. at the Lyon County Museum, 301 West Lyon Street, Marshall. Join us for holiday treats and refreshments, lefse, live music, specials in the museum’s gift shop, crafts, and more. Special guests, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at the museum from 1-2 p.m.

The Lyon County Historical Society (LCHS) is a nonprofit, member-supported organization. LCHS operates the Lyon County Museum at 301 West Lyon Street in Marshall. The Lyon County Museum is open year-round to visitors. To contact us, visit our website: www.lyoncomuseum.org, call: 507-537-6580, email: director@lyoncomuseum.org, or on our Facebook page.

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