New Years’ Greetings
A century ago, when postcard correspondence proliferated, New Years’ greetings were common. Those of us who are not organized enough to generate Christmas cards amid the rush to prepare for that holiday–by decorating, shopping, and baking–would appreciate a revival of the New Years’ card custom. The NC Department of Cultural Resources has a delightful collection of these artifacts, available for online surveying. We’re posting some of the highlights here in order to wish our subscribers the very best for 2012!
Writing in 1911, Mittie Hicks was well aware of the approaching leap year. She addressed this card with images of mistletoe, violets, and a rural winter landscape to “Miss Agnes W. Taylor, Wake Forest, N.C.” and wrote the message “Indeed I am going back to N.Y. City next summer or next winter. But possibly not to Teacher’s College, altho the Dr. is the one strong inducement, I assure you. With very best wishes for 366 happy days in the New Year. Love, Mittie Hicks ‘M.C.'”
By the time Addie Creech received this greeting from a friend named Julia, the year 1912 was almost over and the card depicted the passing year as an old man. The contrasting cherub personified 1913. Julia included a personal message. “Here’s to success to you at school in the year of ‘1913’, with love.”
Three years later, in 1915, another friend named Luther sent Creech a card with an image of brightly colored poinsettias. He wrote, “Hope you are having a good time during your vacation. We are going to have another holiday tomorrow. Think I will go to Micro, Ha!”
Eliza A. Pool, living at 214 W. Edenton Street in Raleigh, was a dedicated correspondant who treasured many greeting cards and donated them to the NC Museum of History after many decades.
A friend sent Eliza this New Year’s card with the typical motifs of cherub, ringing bell, and good luck. This is the only New Year’s card in the museum collection picturing a polar bear. The message en verso reads, “We appreciated your card so much–Do hope you’ve had a very Happy Xmas & that this year holds for you many joys–with love yours/ Lillie B. Homer”
Though gradually becoming less prevalent, the custom of sending New Year’s greetings persisted well into the twentieth century. Mary Medlin mailed this card on December 27, 1930 to “Mrs. Emma Ellington/ Clayton, N.C.”