Dorri Partain 

Is it “out of date” to use a datebook?

With the advent of smartphones and an array of apps to keep track of dates and make notes, the handy pocket or purse calendar does seem quite quaint.

Along with multiple styles of wall and desk calendars, the pocket datebook was given out to customers at the end of the year in order to plan for the upcoming year.  What better way for greeting card companies to remind customers of all the occasions and birthdays they would need to purchase cards for?

As stated on the inside cover of this 1948 Hallmark Date Book, “This handy little date book will help you remember the important days in the lives of your friends and loved ones… their birthdays, anniversaries and other occasions when you will want them to know you are thinking of them. A Hallmark Card will best express your perfect taste, your thoughtfulness.”

Measuring 3 by 5 inches, the date book features a grid calendar to write into and an opposite page to include more names and dates. The final eight pages were designed to list names and addresses for sending Christmas cards.

With their floral or charmingly cute cover art, the date books were clearly aimed at female customers, and those who “cared enough to send the best”.

Inside of date book

Based in Kansas City for more than a century, Hallmark Cards’ founder Joyce C. Hall (1891-1982) arrived from Nebraska by train in January 1910, carrying a shoebox of postcards to sell.  He expanded in selling greeting cards as well and was joined by his brother Rollie, forming a company named Hall Brothers. They purchased a printing press and began producing their own line of cards in 1915.

Their well-known slogan, ‘When you care enough to send the best’, was coined by Ed Goodwin, a sales and marketing executive in the company, in 1944.  While other greeting card companies were already using the date book format to market their products, it appears Hallmark began producing their own in 1947. The back cover had a space where the business giving away the booklet could stamp or print their shop logo and address.  This date book is stamped for Hall’s Social Stationers and Engravers, 111 E. Eleventh St, Kansas City 4, MO.

The Hall Brothers company was rebranded as Hallmark, featuring the crown logo, in 1954.