→Holidays and Greeting Cards
By the mid-15th century, greeting cards had moved from mostly a New Year formality to something being exchanged in other periods. One of the first periods used outside of New Year was in celebration of St. Valentine. In fact, Margery Brews, in 1477, is considered to have composed the oldest known Valentine's Day love letter and card to her fiancé (Figure 2). Despite this change, greeting cards were still considered too expensive and difficult for most people to have. However, greeting cards continued to be made, although the volume was generally low.
The major change occurred in the late mid-19th century, when at that time innovations in mechanized printing and mass production, along with better postal routes and cheaper postal rates, made sending greeting cards affordable. It was at this time that greeting cards became popular for other occasions. One of the first was for Christmas, when Sir Henry Cole, in 1847, hired the designer John Calcott Horsley to create the first personalized Christmas cards. These cards were then posted by Cole to his friends as a greeting for the Christmas period. By the 1860s, several companies began to develop mass-produced cards, with these cards mostly focusing on Christmas and New Years. Valentine's Day was also popular for those sending well wishes to their loved ones. With mass production and lower prices, greeting cards soon became popular as part of the wider Christmas and holiday traditions. Companies saw this development and invested heavily by professionalizing the produce through the hiring of expert designers and artists such as Kate Greenaway to help create what would later become classic designs, with the Northern Ireland company Marcus Ward & Co becoming one of the first leaders in greeting cards. These designs were used for Christmas, Valentine's Day, and also the company tried to extend the market by creating generic cards that could be used for other occasions such as birthdays. Soon greeting cards began to be extended to other holidays in the 1870s and later, as low prices and easy reproduction made them popular as part of gifts sent to others.
[[File:0592e8670e3d3d28a5ec093e9dbd0217.jpg|thumb|Figure 2. The oldest known Valentine's Day love letter and form of greeting card known in the English language is from Margery Brews dated to 1477. ]]