Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Seals

 
Christmas seals!  Oh I remember those!
I don't think I new whar they really meant, but I knew that they were important
 
 
 

 In 1907 0n this date the first Christmas seals went on sale.  My memories of them only go back to about 1955. The arrival of that envelope, the one with the Christmas seals in it was a big deal, we could  affix them to anything, it was OK, they were not like a real stamps, which cost all of 3 cents. Stuck on every Christmas card, and as the center of every paper snowflake, adorning the links of  the feet of red and green paper chains, we made as busy work.   The jewel  put on  every schoolbook cover and art project.  Everyone was used, everyone of them,the bright colors and Christmas designs made them irresistible.
 
We were encouraged to bring in 5 or 10 cents, a whole week's allowance for me for a shinny red plastic TB symbol, it hung from a small straight pin. something that would be considered a weapon today, but in those day even the kindergartners wore them everyday until they fell off and were lost.   something i have looked for at every yard sale, but sadly never found even one.  I always wondered what that symbol meant.










The following excerpt from the University of Virginia Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, tells the story so much better than I could.


Ms. Emily Bissell
Ms. Emily Bissell
The fledgling NASPT could not financially support every sanatorium in the country. Many, like the tiny Brandywine Sanatorium near Wilmington, Delaware, were barely able to stay open. In 1907, Dr. Joseph Wales, a physician at Brandywine, asked his cousin, Ms. Emily Bissell, for help. Ms. Bissell was an active member of the American Red Cross with considerable experience in fund-raising. Her mission was to raise the $300 necessary to keep Brandywine Sanatorium in operation through the winter.
Bissell got the idea for a sale of Christmas Seals from an article written by a Danish-American journalist and social worker named Jacob Riis. In his article, Is referred to a successful sale of Christmas seals in 1904 in Denmark that raised $20,000 in the fight against TB. Bissell agreed with Riis’s suggestion that America do the same. She borrowed money from friends to print the first 50,000 Seals, got permission from the Wilmington postmaster to sell them in the post office lobby, and sold the first Christmas Seal on December 7, 1907.
first Christmas Seal campaign
The Seals were placed in envelopes on which the following message was printed:
Put this stamp with message bright
On every Christmas letter;
Help the tuberculosis fight,
And make the New Year better.
These stamps do not carry any kind of mail
but any kind of mail will carry them.
Christmas Seal promotion
On her first day, Bissell raised $25. But when sales tapered off during the next several days, she realized that she was no longer on pace to reach her goal of $300. Desperate, she jumped on the train to Philadelphia, where she hoped to find a voice for her cause in The North American, one of the city’s most popular newspapers. She succeeded. Every day in The North American, articles appeared under the heading, “Stamp Out Tuberculosis.” Her Seals sold so quickly that she had to order another 250,000. The Philadelphia campaign caught the attention of President Theodore Roosevelt, who enthusiastically endorsed Bissell’s Seals. By the end of the Christmas season, Emily Bissell had raised $3,000.

Christmas Seals and the ALA

girl with hundreds of Christmas Seals
Ms. Bissell’s Christmas Seal Campaign went national the following year with the official sponsorship of the American Red Cross. In its second year, the sale of Christmas Seals raised $135,000 against tuberculosis. In 1909, the campaign produced $250,000. The American Red Cross sponsored the Christmas Seal until 1919, when the National Tuberculosis Association (the new name for the NASPT) was finally strong enough to assume exclusive control of the project. The emblem of the NTA, the double-barred cross, appeared for the first time on a Christmas Seal in 1920.
1908 Christmas Seal
The double-barred cross is a modification of the Cross of Lorraine, which is itself a variation of the Jerusalem, or Patriarchal, Cross. Godfrey, Duke of Lorraine and a leader of the First Crusade, commandeered the cross in 1099 when he was made ruler of Jerusalem. In 1902, Dr. Gilbert Version of Paris proposed that the Lorraine Cross be made the emblem of the anti-TB “crusade” at the International Conference on Tuberculosis held in Berlin. The NASPT adopted the cross in 1906 and registered their new emblem as an official trademark in 1920.
1920 Christmas Seal
Since 1959, celebrities have chaired the Christmas Seal Campaign, including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Bob Hope, Lee Trevino, Johnny Bench, Pearl Bailey, and Cybill Shepherd. Early Christmas Seals have attracted the attention of stamp collectors, some of whom pay several hundred dollars for a single Seal. In 1980, Ms. Emily Bissell, “Crusader Against Tuberculosis,” and the double-barred cross of the ALA appeared on a postage stamp. Now one of the best known fund-raisers in the country, the Christmas Seal Campaign raises millions of dollars to prevent, cure, and control lung disease.
Lee Trevino ad for Christmas Seals

No comments:

Haiku ~~~sight unseen

Still, misty, warm night air century plant blossoms, so white look! a tiny sparkle