L Prang & Co
Originally born in Breslau, Prussia, Louis Prang arrived in America in 1850 and went into the lithographic printing business in Boston in 1856.
At the Vienna Exposition in 1873, he distributed small business cards that had designs of flowers on a tinted or black background with a ribbon scroll for the name. It was the suggestion of an English lady that the ribbon or scroll on the cards be filled in with a Christmas greeting and be sold as a Christmas card. These first Prang Christmas cards appeared in England in 1873 but were not for sale in America until a year later.
A notable feature of Prang cards is the attention paid to the reverse of the greeting card. The artists without fail accomplished a cleverly conceived and well executed design within the constraints of a reduced colour palette. Place the mouse pointer over the card above to view the design on the reverse.
He also instituted the idea of competitions for Christmas card designs, in 1880, with prizes of up to $1000 being awarded to the lucky winners. The publication of greeting cards came to end in the 1890s.
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