Among the records of the Harpur Crewe collection are a couple of Victorian scrap albums of Christmas cards collected by or for children of the family. One belonged to Richard Fynderne Harpur Crewe (called Dickie) in the 1880s and the other to his sister Frances in the 1890s.I have gathered together a number of images from these two albums (document reference numbers D2375/M/260/7 and D2375/M/246/10) to show the sort of Christmas cards they had then. They’re certainly different, perhaps unbearably so for some! Lots of cute cats and dogs and the like.
There are a couple of Santa Claus cards which stand out. I particularly like the one on the left, not only because he is pedalling away on his penny farthing but also because he has on the red tunic usually associated with him. You often hear that the modern image of Santa was the product of advertising in the 1930s by some soft drink company or other, so it’s nice to see that it was based on something that did have an earlier tradition.
There are quite a few quirky ones. Clowns, monkeys and soldiers feature on them more than they tend to do today. I do like the hopeful size of the girl’s stocking, but parents may disagree! Nothing, however, for me quite conjures up the true meaning of Christmas as the idea of kangaroos prospecting for gold.
There are also a number of New Year’s greeting cards in the albums, of which these are two of the best.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!