Christmas in April: American National Red Cross Christmas Seals

By Jason Clingerman

Starting in 1907, the American National Red Cross (ANRC) began selling Christmas Seals in an effort to raise money to combat tuberculosis. The seals resembled postage stamps, and could be collected or used on holiday correspondence.

1914 Christmas Seal
1914 Christmas Seal

The first year of sales, 1907, only generated $3,000 towards tuberculosis. However, successive years earned in the millions!

A virtual tour called “Stamping out Tuberculosis: The American Red Cross and the First Christmas Seals” can be found at the American Red museum website. This virtual tour describes the history of the seals and highlights the artists who designed them.

A collection of Christmas Seals for the years 1908 to 1957 (ARC Identifier 5724622), donated by Nathaniel F. Kennedy, can be found here at Archives II in College Park, MD. Part of the ANRC collection (NAID 783), these seals are now available for researcher use.