Sending New Year’s Greetings

New Year's Greetings.  ca. 1910.  The Connecticut Historical Society.

New Year’s Greetings. ca. 1910. The Connecticut Historical Society.

Did you know that New Year’s cards were once nearly as common and popular as Christmas cards?  While Christmas was at first a religious and then a family holiday, New Year’s Day was long a traditional occasion for visiting one’s friends and exchanging good wishes.  It was also a purely secular holiday, celebrated and enjoyed by people of all religious persuasions.  At the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth century, holiday postcards were all the rage.  They were an easy and inexpensive way to send greetings, requiring little more than a penny stamp, a scribbled address and a sentence or two—not so different from an email or a text message, except that they were hand-delivered by a postman, not sent electronically via the Internet.  The Connecticut Historical Society has a large collection of historic postcards and greeting cards.  Though not all of them were made in Connecticut, all of them were sent or received by people who lived in the State a century or more ago.  I wonder how we will manage to collect and preserve the electronic greeting cards that so many people favor today and if it will still be possible to access them and view them a hundred years from now.

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