by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator
A number of years ago, the family of Sylvia Muse donated her postcard collection and research material. Sylvia started her collection one year after she was born when her grandmother, Fianna B. Grabill, sent her a first birthday card with “bluebirds embossed on it and was beautiful” was sent to her by her grandmother, Fianna B. Grabill.
Sylvia was born in rural Harvey County, Kansas, to Henry M. & Harriet A. Dibble Grabill on Valentine’s Day in 1911.
Some of Sylvia’s father’s family remained in Pennsylvania creating the perfect opportunity for correspondence. To keep in contact, cards and letters were mailed back and forth between the family in Pennsylvania and Kansas. Each card Sylvia received, she placed in a special box. As she got older, she would take out the cards and make up stories or her mother would sit with her and tell about her family in Pennsylvania who had sent the card.
In her later years, as she began writing her family history, the cards recieved from far away family provided a touchstone. She described, “it was like meeting old friends and I thought of all those people who had sent me the cards.”
Christmas Greetings – Sylvia Grabill Dewey Muse
Muse had a large collection of Christmas cards and she noted, “I found that the cards reflect the issue and interest of that particular year.”
She drew on the cards she had collected throughout her life to create a program as part of the “I-Witness” program at Larksfield Place, Wichita, Ks.
Sylvia Muse’s Christmas Greetings
The images below are pages from programs she gave in the 1990s based on her collection. Notebooks with her complete Christmas collection will be available to view at HCHM on Dec. 2 through Dec. 30.
Cards produced in the 1960s reflected events such as space travel.
In the early 1970s, cards began showing children of different color and nationalities.
In 1977, Hallmark produced what would become their best selling Christmas card. By 1996, 36 million cards with the three angels had been sold.
1985 The Olympics
2000 A New Millennium
Sylvia died October 27, 2012 at the age of 101.