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History of Hallmark

Telling the story of Hallmark Cards, Inc. is like flipping the pages of an American scrapbook. There are famous characters: Winston Churchill, Walt Disney, Norman Rockwell, and Maya Angelou… new product advancements… retailing innovations… and a set of timeless values: service, quality, caring, and innovation.

The story begins in 1910, when 18-year-old Joyce Clyde Hall stepped off a train in Kansas City, Mo., with nothing but two shoeboxes of postcards under his arm. He had little money – not even enough to take a horse-drawn cab to his lodgings at the YMCA – but he had an entrepreneurial spirit and the determination of a pioneer.

Hall printed some invoices and started sending packets of a hundred postcards to dealers throughout the Midwest. A few of the dealers kept the cards without paying. Some returned the unsolicited merchandise with an angry note. But about a third sent a check. Within a couple of months, the teenage businessman had cleared $200 and opened a checking account. He was in business.

With those two boxes and a vision, J.C. Hall pioneered a brand synonymous with integrity and gave birth to an industry that flourishes today. Some 6 billion greeting cards are sent each year in the United States alone. Hallmark is the industry leader – one of every two greeting cards sent is a Hallmark card – all beginning with the creativity and innovation of J.C. Hall.

Hall quickly made a name for himself with the picture postcards he sold, but he knew the future was more than postcards. In 1915, Hall Brothers, as the company was named when Rollie Hall joined his brother in business, saw the potential in high-quality valentines and Christmas cards – mailed in envelopes – and began creating and printing their own cards. © 2006 Hallmark

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