Guide to the Victorian and Edwardian Greeting Card Collection, ca.1850-1910

Special Collections & Archives

Oviatt Library

California State University, Northridge
18111 Nordhoff St.
Northridge, CA, 91330
URL: http://library.csun.edu/SCA
Email: oviattsca@csun.edu
Phone: (818) 677-2832
Fax: (818) 677-2589
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Overview of the Collection

Collection Title: Victorian and Edwardian Greeting Card Collection
Dates: ca.1850-1910
Identification: SC/VEGC
Creator: Delmar T. Oviatt Library
Physical Description: 0.42 linear feet
Language of Materials: English
Repository: Special Collections
Abstract: Greeting cards, often sent as part of holiday celebrations, became popular in Great Britain and the United States in the 19th century. They gradually replaced letters due to improvements in printing technology and the mail service in both countries. These ready-made cards served to help people share well-wishes in the Victorian and Edwardian eras, when expressing feelings in person might be seen as inappropriate. This collection contains examples of greeting cards to be exchanged for various holidays, including Christmas, New Year's, and Valentine's Day, as well as several examples of birthday cards. The Christmas and New Year's cards are notable in that they often feature animals, flowers, fairies, or children rather than the wintry or religious themes that are more common today.

Historical Note:

The Oviatt Library created this collection of materials for study and research.

Access Terms

This Collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Genre/Form of Material:

Ephemera

Topical Term:

Birthday cards -- Specimens
Christmas cards -- Specimens
Greeting cards -- Specimens
New Year cards -- Specimens
Valentines -- Specimens

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection has not been transferred to California State University, Northridge. Copyright status for other materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Conditions Governing Access:

The collection is open for research use.

Preferred Citation:

For information about citing items in this collection consult the appropriate style manual, or see the Citing Archival Materials  guide.

Related Materials:

Scope and Contents

Greeting cards, often sent as part of holiday celebrations, became popular in Great Britain and the United States in the 19th century. They gradually replaced letters due to improvements in printing technology and the mail service in both countries. These ready-made cards served to help people share well-wishes in the Victorian and Edwardian eras, when expressing feelings in person might be seen as inappropriate. This collection contains examples of greeting cards to be exchanged for various holidays, including Christmas, New Year's, and Valentine's Day, as well as several examples of birthday cards. The Christmas and New Year's cards are notable in that they often feature animals, flowers, fairies, or children rather than the wintry or religious themes that are more common today.

Collection Contents

Box 1, Folder 1

Birthday cards

Box 1, Folder 2

Christmas cards

Box 1, Folder 3

Christmas, decorated cards

Box 1, Folder 4

Christmas, multi-fold cards

Box 1, Folder 5

Christmas, pop-up cards

Box 1, Folder 6

Christmas, single-fold cards

Box 1, Folder 7

Christmas, single-fold decorated cards

Box 1, Folder 8

New Years cards

Box 1, Folder 9

New Years cut-out cards

Box 1, Folder 10

New Years multi-fold cards

Box 1, Folder 11

New Years single-fold cards

Box 1, Folder 12

Valentines