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Biedermeier Greeting Card Collection

Identifier: RB-RB-004

The Biedermeier cards originated in the mid-18th century in France but soon became popular in German and Austrian bourgeois circles. These cards, which are prints from woodcuts or copperplate etchings, are usually characterized by their inclusion of moveable elements to represent a narrative event: a simple fold-out window discloses a brief romantic poem or a pull-out handle moves part of the image to simulate an action or gesture that relates to the greeting message. In addition, the cards often feature embossing, cut-out shapes, on-lays, and collage work. There is also an example of a printed home-assembly kit of a movable card. This collection includes visiting, friendship, New Year's, birthday, and other commemorative cards of the Steinacker and Zeisberg families in Wernigerode, Germany. The cards are addressed to and from R.D. Geissler, Marie Auguste Öhlmann, Auguste Kleinau, Christian Kleinau, C.S. Lamberg, Demoiselle Steinacker (probably Johanne Henriette Helene Steinacker, later Zeisberg), Herrn Kolbe, Johanna Christiana Hecking [Stechin?], Auguste Oppermann, Christiane Aug., Christian Ludwig & Carl Wilhelm Zeisberg, and Christine Charlotte Wilhelm, among others. Carl Wilhelm Zeisberg was a German librarian and book collector who left a substantial private library.


  • 1780-1863
  • Other: Date acquired: 11/17/2016

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions to access.

Conditions Governing Use

Users of the collection must read and agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth in the Materials Use Policies. Providing access to materials does not constitute permission to publish or otherwise authorize use. All publication not covered by fair use or other exceptions is restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder, which may or may not be Washington University.

If you wish to publish or license Special Collections materials, please contact Special Collections to inquire about copyright status at (314) 935-5495 or means quotation in whole or in part in seminar or term papers, theses or dissertations, journal articles, monographs, books, digital forms, photographs, images, dramatic presentations, transcriptions, or any other form prepared for a limited or general public.)


1.00 linear feet

Arrangement Note

Items are arranged by format and card type. The contents of the collection are arranged as follows: Series 1: Greeting Cards      Series 1.1 Embossed Cards      Series 1.2 Engraved Cards      Series 1.3 Mechanical Cards      Series 1.4 Mixed Media Cards      Series 1.5 Note Cards      Series 1.6 Sample Cards      Series 1.7 Specialty Cards      Series 1.8 Oversized Cards Series 2: Print Specimens     Series 2.1 Black and White     Series 2.2 Color Series 3: Broadsides

Source of Acquisition


Method of Acquisition

Accession number RB2016-022

Processing Information

The collection was processed by Andrea Degener in May 2019.

Biedermeier Greeting Card Collection
Andrea Degener
Description rules
Language of description

Revision Statements

  • 2019-11: The finding aid was entered into Archon by Tobias Feldmann in November 2019.
  • 2021-06-08: Resource record updated in ArchivesSpace by Sarah Weeks

Collecting Area Details

Part of the Rare Books Collecting Area

Cassie Brand
Olin Library
1 Brookings Drive
St. Louis MO 63130 US
(314) 935-5495