Laura Seddon Greeting Card Collection

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Laura Seddon Greeting Card Collection
First commercially made Christmas card
Laura Seddon Greeting Card Collection is located in Greater Manchester
Laura Seddon Greeting Card Collection
Laura Seddon Greeting Card Collection
Location Sir Kenneth Green Library, Manchester Metropolitan University, England
Coordinates 53°28′14″N 2°14′19″W / 53.47053°N 2.23872°W / 53.47053; -2.23872
Website MMU Special Collections – Victorian Ephemera

Laura Seddon Greeting Card Collection is a collection of greeting cards now in the Manchester Metropolitan University, in the Sir Kenneth Green Library, on the All Saints Campus.[1]


The collection consists of a section of 32,000 Victorian and Edwardian greeting cards by major publishers of the day. It includes cards printed by hand like those produced by Sockl and Nathan and also mass-produced cards (a subsequent production method) like those produced by Marcus Ward & Co and Raphael Tuck & Sons. Some of the cards hold special significance, like Britain's first commercially produced Christmas card[2] dating from 1843.[3]

The collection is catalogued in Laura Seddon's book A Gallery of Greetings.[4] Another section of the collection includes 450 Valentine's Day cards dating from the early nineteenth century, which Seddon also catalogued.[5] The cards vary from loving to crude and show a different side to the Victorian values that might be expected. The cards include fake wedding certificates, cards that make references to haliotis and others that suggest that the recipient may face being "left on the shelf".[6]


Laura Seddon got the idea for this collection after attending a presentation by Sir Harry Page, a Manchester City Council treasurer, where she saw his collection which included 276 bound scrap-albums created between 1752 and 1935. Page's aim had been to avoid collections of press cuttings but to try and find writings, paintings, "the prints and scraps" which had been gathered together by "young ladies". He had gathered many of these but his collection had spread its focus but always retaining a discernment.[7]

Page's meta-collection suggested to Seddon that she might create her own collection. She decided to focus on early greeting cards from both the Victorian and Edwardian periods.[2]

The card collection was curated by Laura Seddon over a period of twenty years initially using George Buday's book "History of the Christmas Card".[8] The collection became so important that she was able to donate it to the Manchester Metropolitan University. Seddon became an Honorary Fellow of the University in 1992 in recognition of her donation and achievement. Together with the Sir Harry Page collection (which was purchased by this University),[7] these makes up the two Victorian Ephemera collections of the MMU Special Collections.[9]


  1. ^ Michelle Higgs (1999). Christmas Cards. (p.39, 40), Osprey Publishing. Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Susie Stubbs (10 May 2013). "Small Museums #1: Manchester Metropolitan University's Special Collections". Creative Tourist. Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  3. ^ Higgs, Michelle (1999). Christmas cards : from the 1840s to the 1940s. Buckinghamshire (Cromwell House, Church Street, Princes Risborough): Shire Publications Ltd. p. 6. ISBN 0747804265. 
  4. ^ Laura Seddon (1992). A Gallery of Greetings: A Guide to the Seddon Collection of Greetings Cards in Manchester Polytechnic Library. Manchester Polytechnic Library. Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Laura Seddon (1996). Victorian Valentines: A Guide to the Laura Seddon Collection of Valentine Cards in Manchester Metropolitan University Library. Manchester Metropolitan University. Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  6. ^ Valentine cards reveal Britain’s relationship history, Manchester Metropolitan University, retrieved 22 November 2013
  7. ^ a b Scraps on Albums, Birkbeck College, 2006, retrieved 22 November 2013
  8. ^ Bulletin 32-36. Printing Historical Society. 1992. 
  9. ^ "Links to other organisation". The Ephemera Society. Retrieved 23 November 2013.