Urban Archeologist: Endangered Christmas Seals?

Some seals are endangered…Christmas Seals, not so much.

Christmas Seals 1943
Christmas Seals 1943
I bought a box of old paper last year and just got around to clearing out the last of the items. In a non-descript envelope were six detailed flyers for promoting Christmas seals. They were a kind of crescent shape but covered in colorful detailed graphics and illustration


Christmas Seals or fundraising stamps have been around for over 100 years but became connected with the American Lung Association by chance.

To learn why we have Christmas seals, let’s start from the end, or more accurately, the present.  Seals are sold by the American Lung Association, which was formed to educate the public about clean air and the importance of lung health beginning in the early 20th century.

This was necessary because Tuberculosis, which had been named in 1839, was one of the major causes of death due to the ease in which one infected person could infect others by coughing, sneezing or breathing in their vicinity. The public needed to be educated about (among other things) covering a cough or sneeze, and to not spit in public.

Sanatoriums were built as separate care facilities from hospitals to quarantine the afflicted, which unfortunately did little to cure. Funding for these facilities was costly and other sources of support were needed to keep them from closing. 

Will the Sanitoriums be saved? Should they be called Sanitariums? If Santa had to go there, would they be called Santatoriums? What about the Seals? See the conclusion of the endangered Seals story by clicking here.

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