The New England Historical Society remembers Louis Prang, the German immigrant who created the American Christmas card.
Louis Prang put Christmas cards into millions of American mailboxes and fine art into millions of American homes.
He arrived in Boston at the age of 26, a German revolutionary with a dream of democracy and equality. Over the course of his long career he evolved into an astute businessman and the leading color printer of his age.
From his factory in Boston he dominated the Christmas card industry in the decades following the Civil War. He also brought beautiful art to the masses, lucrative work to women artists and art education to children. Kids today still use the paints and crayons he developed more than a century ago.
Just before Louis Prang died in 1909, a contemporary paid a slightly overwrought tribute to him.
The Santa Claus of American art showered his greeting card favors alike upon the just and the unjust, the rich and the poor, the humble and the proud. Where have they not gone, those loose leaves from the world’s book of beauty! Everywhere! Into the homes of the poor, into the miner’s cabin, the invalid’s chamber, the nursery, the schoolroom, the drawing room. Millions of lives have been brightened by the fair and pleasant things that have been sown broadcast over the country by Mr. Prang.
HT: Karen L. Myers.