Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Wishes, Arts and Crafts Style

It's quite common to see stacks of old greeting cards at estate sales. Often they've been used, but sometimes they are still in unsigned, unsent condition.

Most of the old greeting cards I see were produced by the biggest names in the American greeting card industry -- Hallmark and American Greetings for more contemporary cards, Buzza-Cardozo and Norcross for older ones.  

But this old Thanksgiving card, which was apparently never signed or mailed, caught me off guard.  It wasn't produced by any company I'd never heard of.

The card reads:


For beauty of the generous earth,
For Small successes , joy and mirth,
for large content in little wealth.
For books, for music, and for health,
For every thing thy mercy sends,
But best of all -- for friends.

I turned the card over to see the maker's imprint:  

Artcraft Shop

The Artcraft Shop in Minneapolis was associated with artist Mary Moulton Cheney (1871-1957).  Cheney was a Minneapolis artist best known for her graphical designs.  In addition to teaching for nearly 30 years at the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts, Cheney also ran her own print shop, Artcraft Shop: Sign of the Bay Tree and published books under the name Chemith Press.  Cheney was the first female president of the School of Fine Arts (now the Minneapolis College of Art and Design) and was deeply involved in the Arts and Crafts movement during the early 20th century.  

And indeed, the stylized F in the block print, the hand-painted colors, the overall design of the card reflect the American Arts and Crafts movement.

There were many, many other greeting cards at the same estate sale, dating from before World War I to about 1932. A lot of them were Christmas cards.  I'll share some of them with you on this blog, between now and Christmas itself.  Here are a couple of examples, just for fun!

Meanwhile, here are some links to more information on Mary Moulton Cheney:



And an essay on the American Arts and Crafts movement:  http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/acam/hd_acam.htm

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