New Year’s Mail Call

January 1, 2019

By Katie Mayer

These two undated embroidered New Year’s greeting cards are from the Emil Duyck Family Papers (Coll. 783) at the Oregon Historical Society. Photograph by Robert Warren, Oregon Historical Society.

What better way to begin 2019 than with some charming New Year’s greetings from the past?

Collections management librarian Dana Miller has been working on a survey of materials in OHS’ offsite storage to help finalize the library’s master inventory and prioritize future cataloging. Among the materials are these delightful greeting cards that Dana spotted in a collection of papers and correspondence from the Duyck family.


Pictured here are details of the embroidery on the greeting cards, including the Dutch words “Happy new year.” A close-up of the handwritten note on the back is also shown here. Photographs by Robert Warren, Oregon Historical Society. (Click the images to view full-size.)

Two of the cards feature lovely embroidered designs, including the words “Gelukkig nieuwjaar” — “happy new year” in Dutch. One card has no message, but on the reverse side of the other is a handwritten note, also in Dutch, from the recipient’s goddaughter. “May this year be a year of blessings and favor for you,” she wrote, according to a translation included with the card. The embroidered cards are undated, but much of the correspondence in the collection dates from 1900 to 1909.

Stamped leather greeting card, postmarked January 1907. Emil Duyck Family Papers, Acc26221_015

Also in the collection is a stamped leather greeting card, postmarked January 1907. Photograph by Robert Warren, Oregon Historical Society.

A third card, postmarked January 1907, appears to be stamped leather. It features a jaunty man pointing at the (motivational) message “Everything comes / To those who wait, / And the lazy man / Waits to greet it. / But success comes on with rapid gait, / To the fellow who goes to meet it.”

We at OHS wish you the best in 2019, at whatever pace it comes.

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