Christmas Seals - History
Christmas Seals began as a postman’s brilliant idea in Copenhagen…
One stormy December night in 1903, a postman named Einar Holboell was working late in a post office on the outskirts of Copenhagen. He was sorting great piles of Christmas mail. As he moved around among the mailbags he paused to look out the window. Just at that moment two little waifs, a ragged little girl and boy appeared. He saw them only for a moment before they disappeared in the swirling snow.
Einar Holboell went back to the stacks of letters and parcels with a sad heart. The contrast between the expressions of good will slipping through his fingers and the forsaken-looking children troubled him.
Suddenly, he had an idea. Perhaps one of the letters gave it to him. Just suppose that every letter or parcel carried an extra stamp, and the money from the tens of thousands of such stamps went to help unfortunate children. What a blessing it would be!
He realized what large sums of money could be donated without it costing anyone very much.
Many ideas that seem splendid late at night do not seem as bright in the morning. However, even in the cold light of the next morning the postman thought his idea good enough to tell his fellow workers. They were enthusiastic.
At first they wondered if they could try it that year. A little calculation convinced them that there was not time to get a design, get stamps printed and, most important of all, get the scheme well explained to the public who would be buying the stamps. They determined however that they would work out all the details and be ready in plenty of time in 1904.
When the Christmas rush was over the postmen started planning in earnest. When they had the details worked out they went to the king and outlined their scheme.
King Christian IX was fired up with enthusiasm and added a suggestion of his own that the first issue of stamps would have Queen Louise’s picture as a sign that he and his wife fully endorsed the idea. As they were both very popular with their people this was a great help.
At Christmas of 1904 the stamps went on sale and the campaign was even more successful than the postmen had hoped. The Danes bought four million of the stickers. At that time when drives for funds were almost unheard of, this was a triumph.
The question then arose of how the money should be used. Which unfortunate children should be helped? It was decided that the children in most distress were the hundreds, even perhaps thousands, who were crippled by tuberculosis.
With funds from the first two Christmas Seal Campaigns they started building two hospitals for treating children with tuberculosis. This was a turning point in the world history of this disease because it was the beginning of the movement to get ordinary citizens to take part in fighting an infectious disease, one which at that time was the leading cause of death, outstripping even wars and famines.
Denmark’s neighbours, Norway and Sweden were the first to see what a great power the people would be and the very next year they offered Christmas Seals in their countries, pointing out how in this way anyone could help, not only doctors and nurses. To their delight they found that Norwegians and Swedes were also ready to take this way of fighting tuberculosis.
Note Card Campaign
This set of note cards were used for the 2007 campaign that had been created from the beautiful paintings of a South West Nova Scotia artist, Frank Boudreau, who resides with his wife Donna in the community of Arcadia. Frank has generously donated his artwork for our annual note card project. We are very grateful for his commitment to the cause of lung health.
This is a direct mail campaign sent out in August. This campaign features the work of Canadian artists and is only being done in the Atlantic Provinces.
Each time you use one of these beautiful cards, we hope you will think about how you are helping the 1000 of Newfoundlanders & Labradorians who are breathing a little easier.thanks to your contribution.
Please consider making a donation to one of our Campaigns.
If you have any questions or comments about any of these campaigns, feel free to contact our office at (709) 726-4664 or 1-888-566-5864.