In 1894, Gleeson White devoted an issue of his influential design journal, The Studio, to the examination of Christmas cards. He scanned the sample books of the major manufacturers and found standard greetings, bad verse, and an eclectic array of images. He wrote: "It is obvious that for the sake of their literature no collection would be worth making." Rather, it was the design that White found to be the sole interesting feature of this category of holiday ephemera.
Displayed here are examples of holiday cards published by five of the firms discussed by White. Though only a few of the cards included here are mentioned by White specifically, they serve to illustrate the many styles, artists, and themes included in his treatment of the topic.
This online exhibition was originally created in 2001. View the original version of Image and Sentiment on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.