Happy holidays from the Genealogy & Local History Library!

Genealogy Library - stockings

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care.

Happy holidays, everyone!

A fun part of my job is decorating the Genealogy & Local History Library for the holidays.  Kinzels Flower Shop brings in the greenery, and I’m in charge of putting up the stockings. Since we are a history library, I also arrange images of vintage greeting cards on the mantel. Last year, I spent quite a bit of time searching through online postcard collections, Etsy listings (www.etsy.com), and card company catalogs. I started thinking about two major issues in my search.

1.      It is extremely difficult to find vintage holiday cards that are not Christmas cards. I managed to find several (literally two) charming Hanukkah cards from the early half of the 19th century, but Kwanzaa didn’t come into existence until 1966, so I stretched a little on that and finally chose a few modern-day cards that look vintage.

2.      It is extremely difficult to find culturally sensitive vintage holiday cards. I wanted to represent African Americans, Asians, and American Indians in addition to using cards with rosy-cheeked, towheaded children. Holy stereotypes, Batman! Most of those caricatured cards belong at the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia (www.ferris.edu/jimcrow). An important part of history, yes, but not something that I want to put on the mantel of the library’s fireplace.

I finally found several beautiful holiday cards with African American subjects, most done by Color-Tone Originals Inc. Color-Tone came out with excellent lines of greeting cards mid-century, and I found some of their old ads in Ebony Magazine. The Color-Tone motto was “in good taste…always,” and from what I’ve seen online, the cards live up to the tagline.

Color-Tone Cards

A selection of Color-Tone Cards

And I’ll end this post with an amusing discovery. There are a lot of terrifying vintage cards out there. The title of this one (from Great Britain, 1909) is “CHRISTMAS GREETINGS Santa puts crying young pine-cone person in sack.”

Christmas pine cone

Merry Christmas . . . sorry for the nightmares!