By Bill Dulaney in the Arlington Heights Herald (Arlington Heights, Illinois) May 7, 1959
“Even llamas have mamas” — and while this and similar observations have tripled the sale of “sick” Mother’s Day cards this year, the old standby is still a sentimental bit of verse.
Of more than 240 million Mother’s Day cards given Sunday, 85 percent will express the traditional “We love you dear mother” thought, according to Vincent Vayda, regional sales manager for the American Greetings Corporation.
The other 15 percent will be “sick,” “slam,” or “highbrow” cards, as they’re variously called. The popularity of these types of card, says Vayda, has extended to every holiday and occasion.
The conventional Mother’s Day card, though expressing the same sentiment as in former years, has evolved to a less ornate, less maudlin card, according to Paul Vogel of the Paul R. Voel company, publishers of the Charm Craft cards.
“Most of the verse used or sentiment expressed has a more sincere ring than that used 10 years. Card givers like to send a card that looks as if they might have written the message, not something that originated with a 19th century poet,” says Vogel.
Vayda notes that the trend of Mother’s Day cards is toward smaller, neater-looking with better artwork. Parchment cards, though more costly, are big sellers, as are cards with a religious emphasis.
While the sale of all types of greeting cards has boomed in the post-war years, Mother’s Day cards, in particular, have become increasingly popular. Their retail sale amounts to $60 million yearly, according to Vayda, and Vogel notes that his company’s sale of Mother’s Day cards has doubled since 1951, while the sale of all cards has only risen 20 percent.
Vogel attributes a large portion of the sales increase to “other mothers.” There are Mother’s Day cards for new mothers, mothers-to-be, grandmothers, a friend’s mother, aunts, mothers-in-law, and “to someone like a mother.” There is even a Mother’s Day card for parents so father won’t feel left out.
In fact, says Vogel, “other mother” cards count for a third of Mother’s Day card sales.
As for the “sick” card trend, some publishers are already expressing concern over where it will end.
“We feel such cards are in bad taste, but carry the line because of competition,” says a representative of one large company.
Another claims that such cards appeal primarily to young people. But young or old, habitual card senders are generally lonely people, says an executive of a publishing firm.
Psychologists have made the observation, he says that many people who regularly send cards do so in the hope of receiving one in return. Many are older persons with little family life, and receiving a card gives them a sense of belonging.
Vintage mother’s day cards: To my own dear mom (1950s-1960s)
Shows a puppy sitting at a desk, writing a letter to mom
I’m in love with you, Mommy! (1950s-1960s)
A baby angel leading three bluebirds in a song
To an angel of a wife on Mother’s Day (1930s-1940s)
A woman opening a gift hatbox with a halo inside
Vintage mother’s day cards: It’s Mother’s Day! (1933)
Two baby bellhops carrying a bouquet of flowers
From your secret pal on Mother’s Day (1950s-1960s)
A Mother’s Day wish for my wife (1950s)
To Mother on Mother’s Day (1950s)
To the best of mothers: Antique mother’s day postcard with roses
Vintage Mother’s Day cards: Mother – Antique postcard