Saturday, September 15, 2012


Louis Prang was born in 1824 in a Province of the Kingdom of Prussia. His father was a textile manufacturer, and Louis grew up comfortably in that trade, working with his father for many years. After a while, his youthful political activities irritated the Prussian government (he was a bit too revolutionary for his time) and he was forced to emigrate, first to Switzerland, then to Boston in 1850.

He became a fairly successful lithographer, carving wood engravings for book illustrations. He eventually started his own business, L. Prang and Company, working in advertising and other business art. The company also printed maps, some of which were used (by both sides!) during the Civil War.

In 1873, he started printing Christmas cards – he is often referred to as the Father of the American Christmas card – and also manufactured a series of what were called “album cards,” which were used in scrapbooks. (Scrapbooking is nothing new, although the use of the gerund form certainly is trendy: I have several of my great-grandmother’s diaries in which she often mentions an evening spent “pasting scraps.”)  I’ve stumbled across quite a bit of Prang’s work in scrapbooks I’ve found in flea markets and antique shops.  I’ve got a few of his Christmas cards, too, and I’ll post some in December!

Louis Prang relocated his Massachusetts company from Roxbury to Springfield in 1897. He died in 1909 and is buried in Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain.

This card depicting the Muses was one of Louis Prang’s scrap album cards. The Muses were the goddesses who ruled over the arts and sciences. They are known collectively as the younger muses, and they influenced poetry, music, tragedy, comedy, dancing, astronomy, astrology, etc.

There were usually nine muses, but this card has ten.

So, which one is the interloper?

Make your guess in your comment, and feel free to be wickedly creative!


  1. I'm guessing the interloper is the one with the backpack and the hiking boots. The Muse of Monhegan Island Delights. I'd recognize her ( him?) anywhere. Looks just like me these glorious September days! xo

    1. I first thought it was the one with the strappy sandals....but am not sure now. They ALL look slightly plump in their flowing garments...but the Sandal One has a shorter skirt...

  2. I don't know, but maybe the guy? Just a guess from those old worksheets at school teaching us to spot which thing does not belong, lol. Very interesting info, Deb. Nice to know where Christmas cards came from too. Hey, I just sent you an email on your other site. Thanks so much for leaving me you kind comments last week.

    Kathy M.

    1. Is it REALLY a guy? Remember Klinger in the old M*A*S*H TV program?