Photo contributed by the Basket Historical Society

The Christmas postcard is from 1920, printed in Worcester, MA, by the Whitney Made company.

Looking Back 12/12/18

In the mid-1800s, Henry Cole, an elite educator living in Victorian England, was a busy man. During the holiday season, he did not have enough time to write lengthy letters in response to those he received from his numerous friends. At the time, however, it was considered rude not to respond to one’s mail.

To resolve this issue, Cole printed 1,000 copies of one holiday image, designed by J.C. Horsley, complete with the same message: “A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year To You.”

Though Cole’s Christmas cards were received with much criticism, other Victorians soon adopted the idea of the Christmas card to save time. In 1875, Louis Prang began selling the first Christmas cards in the United States. Gradually, the business for holiday cards expanded until it became tradition to send generic festive greetings each year.

The Basket Historical Society preserves and presents the history of the Upper Delaware area. If you are interested in becoming a member or finding out more contact us at


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