ASTORIA — Where did the custom of sending greeting cards begin? The ancient Chinese sent New Year’s greetings to one another and the early Egyptians sent good wishes on papyrus scrolls. In medieval Europe, people sang or said their Valentine’s greetings and by the early 1400’s, paper greeting cards became popular. In the early 1800’s, Valentine’s Day cards became works of beauty with lace and ribbon while others were black and white.

The first Christmas cards were published in London in 1845 by Henry Cole who hired artist John Hersley to create the cards. In 1849, Esther Howland published elaborately decorated Valentine’s Day cards. Louis Prang revolutionized the card industry by introducing the lithographic process to produce elegant Christmas cards in 1856. In the years since, many different kinds of cards have been created for nearly every occasion or occurrence.

Recently, the card industry has been changed by the development of e-cards. However, the latest trend is a return to hand-crafted cards as well as the mass produced cards.

The artists at the Astoria Art Loft have created/painted cards for all occasions. A special exhibit of the cards will be held on Friday, Oct. 11 and Saturday, Oct. 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Most of the cards are one-of-a-kind. For more information, call 503-325-4442 or e-mail The Loft is located at 106 Third Street in Astoria.

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