The history of modern greeting cards began in 1843 in England with the design of the first Christmas card. Easter cards were introduced somewhat later, but by 1887 Omahans had a wide variety of “these pretty souvenirs of the season” from which to choose. The Omaha Daily Bee on March 25, 1887, described the Easter cards then available in Omaha.
The Bee said: “The designs for Easter cards this year are more unique and elaborate than ever before. The cost of these beautiful tokens representative of purity, and hope, is about as usual, ranging from 20 cents to $3.50. Some of the designs are beautiful, all are expensive.
“One particularly novel and neat favor, represents a large water lilv, fully blown, the petals and stamen being of satin. The stamen is yellow, the inside of the petal white and the outside dark green. The picture of a pretty child lies in the center of the flower. The leading design is a golden rayed cross with an infant’s head in the center, in an aureole, its body sweeping away to one side. On the margin are golden darts with golden doves on the corners. A satin card, with an ostrich plume fringe, stands in a bronze easel. The main feature is three cherubs or choristers and the subscription, ‘Let us sing with joy at Easter.’ A marbleized satin cross with a beautiful infant loaded down with flowers, the arms of the cross illuminated with golden vines and leaves excites admiration.
“Booklets are an Easter novelty. They are leaves held together and contain appropriate verses and illustrations. Some of the cards are fastened on a base of tinted etching paper with silken knots and are very bright looking. Cross illuminated bookmarks with silken fringe and the Easter eggs pictured thereon are plentiful and popular. One of the prettiest has a flock of doves flying earthward, while in the background and dim distance are the three dark crosses pictured against the ruddy sky in the east. Mountains toss about, while in the foreground bright flowers and grasses look natural enough to almost suggest the soft breezes that move them on Easter morn. On this card is the inscription, ‘The Lord is risen to day.’ A cross buried nearly in a white plush base, with lilies and various flowers intermingled, is seen.
“Also a beautiful stuffed marbleized satin crescent with the concave side decorated with bright-lined lilacs and blue bells and crosses formed of pine needles and wild roses and hundreds of other chaste and elegant designs, are to be found in the stores of Omaha, from which a selection of favors may be made. The trade in prayer books and hymnals is on the increase, and dealers say it will continue until after Easter Sunday.”
Easter (along with Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day) has long been a popular holiday for sending greeting cards.