Cards, Crackers and a Stationers’ Christmas
The Victorian (re)invention of Christmas
In association with The National Archives
When: Wednesday, 1st December 2021 at 6pm
Duration: 1hr 15 mins
While some festive customs have ancient origins, most of the traditions we associate with Christmas today were created by the Victorians. The 19th century saw the introduction of the Christmas tree, the Christmas card and the Christmas cracker, and also witnessed the birth of modern Christmas consumerism.
The Victorians centred their Christmas traditions around the middle-class home and family and in particular the innocence of childhood. Christmas began to be imbued with feelings of nostalgia and sentimentality while at the same time encouraging charity and sympathy for those less fortunate. These developments were fuelled by the publication of successful Christmas carols, stories and poems, the most famous of which being ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens.
Using the wonderful images registered from 1842 to 1912 with the Stationers’ Company, Visual Collections Researcher at The National Archives, Katherine Howells, will show how some of our most treasured Christmas traditions developed in the Victorian era. The talk will be illustrated with many fascinating visual records from the Stationers' Company Registers (Entry Books of Copies) are held at The national Archives.
Dr Ruth Frendo, Company Archivist will set the scene and explain how these records and images left the Company and were transferred. It is a story of the emergence of copyright with the former"registration"being given a statutory basis in the Copyright Act 1911.
To complete the evening - a modern take on the preparations for a commercial Christmas. Amanda Fergusson, CEO of the UK Greetings Card Association will add her perspective with a contemporary view of how her members manage and respond to Christmas over 150 years on.
Katherine Howells is a Visual Collections Researcher at The National Archives. She specialises in art, design and photographic records, with a particular interest in the collection of images registered for copyright protection with the Stationers' Company (1862-1912). Her research has involved the use of digital methods to analyse catalogue data and learn more about the collection. She holds a PhD in Digital Humanities and an MA in Early Modern History both from King’s College London.
Amanda Fergusson is Chief Executive Officer of the Greeting Card Association, the independent trade association for the UK card community, an industry she is passionate about. She has worked in the industry for over 30 years, latterly as Sales and Marketing Director at Caroline Gardner, a design-led card and gift company. Previously she held senior roles at Hallmark Cards, and The Andrew Brownsword Collection. In the early part of her career Amanda had her own business importing and distributing products, and latterly as a business consultant and mentor. She has served as a non-executive director and as a committee member with both the Giftware Association and previously the Greeting Card Association.
Ruth Frendo became the Stationers' Company archivist in 2017. Prior to this, she worked as an archivist in a range of different organisations, including the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, the Garden Museum, the Courtauld Institute of Art and Shakespeare's Globe.
Facilitated by Court Assistant Carol Tullo, start your Christmas with this festive evening’s entertainment!
All our industry events are free but do consider making a donation to the Stationers’ Hall Charity by copying the link below: