This year we have added a collection of Christmas Seals to the “Carolina Christmas” digital collection. The Christmas Seals are part of the American Lung Association of North Carolina Records collection, which is part of the State Archives Organization Records. The Organization Records group consists of the records of many of the state’s private, professional, or civic organizations judged to be relevant to the history of the state. In 2007 the American Lung Association of North Carolina merged with Maryland and Virginia’s to become the American Lung Association of the Atlantic Coast. It was shortly after the merger that the State Archives became custodians of this collection. A collection of American Lung Association Christmas Seals dating from 1919 to 1999, as well as some Christmas Seals from foreign countries, have been added to “Carolina Christmas.”
The Christmas Seal was developed to help in the fight against tuberculosis (TB). In the nineteenth century tuberculosis was a feared disease with no cure, it did not discriminate between rich or poor, and it ravaged its victims leaving them pale and emaciated until death finally took them. In 1871 a doctor discovered that fresh air and rest could cure TB. As news of this cure spread, so did small clinics where doctors could treat small numbers of patients and, in 1907, one such clinic sent out a plea for help. They needed to raise money or they would have to close their doors to the sick. It was in the fight to keep this small clinic alive that Emily Bissell spearheaded the origin of the American Christmas Seal and the forming of the American Lung Association. To read the full story, read either The Story of the Christmas Seal or the Crusade of the Christmas Seal.
This series from the collection consists of Christmas Seals divided by date range, two small pamphlets, a poster depicting Christmas Seals from around the world, Christmas Seals from foreign countries, and Christmas Seals signed by celebrities. To learn more about the collection see our MARS (Manuscript and Archives Reference System) catalog and use the search term “American Lung Association.”
We hope you enjoy the new additions to “Carolina Christmas” and have a happy holiday season.