.....At the beginning of the 1900's tuberculosis was a greatly feared disease, and its harmful effects on children seemed particularly cruel. In 1903 Einar Holbell, a Danish postal clerk developed the idea of adding an extra charitable stamp to mailed holiday greetings during Christmas.....the money being raised could help children sick with tuberculosis. By 1904 the world's first Christmas seal was issued with over 4 million sold in the first year in Danish Currency 0.02 per seal.
.......and in 1908, the campaign had reached other countries including Canada. Interested people in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario began Christmas Seal campaigns to build and support sanatoriums, as tuberculosis hospitals were called back then.
The above stamps are not from my own collection but the ones in the three next groups are. My mother saved some of the stamps from her teen years and into the war years after she was married and my father was in the service. Be sure to click on all groups and individual prints to enlarge them to screen size.
|Click on above group to enlarge|
|Click on above group to enlarge|
One story in the Toronto Globe told how the children of 58 Toronto schools had sold 10,000 Christmas seals. Another issue announced that out of Regina, Saskatchewan another paper, the Regina Leader had written to say its staff would sell the seals and send the money back to the sanatorium being built in the Muskoka region of Southern Ontario.
This next group from 1953 to 1961 was an Internet find.
From Saint John, New Brunswick, the Rev. G. A. Moore wrote to say that he and other volunteers would sell 6,500 and send the money to Toronto for the Sanatorium.
The two very colourful advertising posters above are from the early part of the 20th century and the one below from 1952 give a serious reason to buy and use Christmas Seals.
Continuing with the story from above - That first year, the Toronto campaign brought in $6,114.25 and Hamilton citizens gave $1,244.40 during hard times. Year by year other cities across Canada tried the Christmas Seal campaign as a means not only of raising money but of creating the awareness that tuberculosis could be controlled.
Finally, in 1927, it was agreed that the Christmas Seal Campaign was to be the official method for tuberculosis associations to appeal to the public for funds. A national seal was established.
There were many creative means used to advertise the purchase and use of Christmas Seals such as these milk bottle caps from the 1940's.
......and also these milk bottle neck rings.
Christmas Seal campaigns have played an important role in public health. At first the money raised was used for the new and badly needed sanatoriums. When these were established, Christmas Seal funds were used for TB prevention. The seals have paid for millions of Canadians to have chest X-rays of tuberculin tests. As a result, thousands of TB cases were discovered before the disease had spread to others.
On a sad note - Hopes that the disease could be completely eliminated were dashed in the 1980's with the rise of drug-resistant strains. TB cases in Britain, numbering around 117,000 in 1913, had fallen to around 5,000 in 1987, but cases rose again reaching 6,300 in 2000 and 7,600 cases in 2005. Due to the elimination of public health facilities in New York and the emergence of HIV, there was a resurgence of TB in the late 1980's. New York had to cope with more than 20,000 TB patients with multidrug-resistant strains.
In response to this resurgence, the World Health Organization issued a declaration of a global health emergency in 1993....every year nearly half a million new cases of multidrug-resistant TB are estimated to occur worldwide.....
Consequently...continued support is needed.
Here is a typical advertisement by movie and television stars supporting the purchase and use of Christmas Seals.
..........The Lone Ranger and Tonto.
.......and finally....did you know...................