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Guide to the Alice and Leonard Seely Christmas Card Scrapbook
 PR 364

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Joseph Ditta

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on May 24, 2018 using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Seely, Alice E., 1909-1999
Creator: Seely, Leonard J., 1904-1978
Title: Alice and Leonard Seely Christmas card scrapbook
Dates: 1934-1993
Abstract: Scrapbook album containing exemplars of the commercially-produced Christmas cards sent by Alice and Leonard Seely of Brooklyn, New York, and St. Petersburg, Florida, between 1934 and 1993.
Quantity: 1.0 Linear feet (1 volume + 1 folder in 1 box)
Call Phrase: PR 364

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Biographical/Historical Note

New York natives Leonard J. Seely (born 1904) and Alice Eleanor Vance (born 1909) were married in 1934. The couple made their home in apartments in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (first at 185 Marine Avenue; second, from about 1953 until their deaths, at 9902 Third Avenue). Alice, a member of the National Honor Society who attended Teacher’s College, Columbia University, taught elementary school in Harlem for a few years before finding a similar job in Bay Ridge. Leonard was a brokerage clerk. In retirement they travelled throughout the United States and wintered in St. Petersburg, Florida. According to her niece, who donated the present scrapbook, Alice “was very particular about selecting Christmas cards and would start the hunt early.” Leonard died in 1978. Alice died in 1999, six years after the last dated card in the collection.

[This note is based largely on information supplied via email to the archivist by Jeanne Pape, niece of Alice Seely.]

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Scope and Contents

The Alice and Leonard Seely Christmas Card Scrapbook contains exemplars of the commercially-produced holiday greetings the couple mailed to family and friends from their homes in Brooklyn and Florida, between 1934 (the year they married) and 1993 (six years before Alice died). Most cards are personalized with their names printed inside; from 1978—the year Leonard died—through 1993, only Alice’s name appears. The cards show typical secular Christmas imagery like wreaths, candles, lanterns, bells, snow scenes, holly, reindeer, Christmas trees, and Santa Claus. The sole religious/biblical image—of the Three Wise Men, or Magi—appears on the card for 1955. The card for 1953 doubles as a change-of-address notice for the Seelys, who moved from one Bay Ridge, Brooklyn apartment (185 Marine Avenue) to another (9902 Third Avenue). In the nearly sixty-year span of the scrapbook, only one card is duplicated: the one inscribed “The Very Best from Florida” was sent in 1970 and 1971.


The Seely Christmas cards sent between 1934 and 1975 (except for 1943 and 1969, which appear to have been skipped) are pasted or mounted chronologically in a commercially produced scrapbook album, one card per page. The remaining cards, from 1976 through 1993, were found tipped loosely inside the back pages of the album. They have been placed in a folder for ease of access. Both the album and folder are housed in a single box.

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Access Points

Document Type

  • Christmas cards.
  • Ephemera.
  • New Year cards.
  • Scrapbooks.

Subject Topics

  • Christmas

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to twenty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. (Researchers may not accrue unused copy amounts from previous days.)

Use Restrictions

Permission to reproduce any Print Room holdings through publication must be obtained from: Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024. Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 270. Fax: (212) 579-8794.

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as the Alice and Leonard Seely Christmas Card Album, PR 364, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, The New-York Historical Society.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Jeanne Pape, February 2018. Ms. Pape is the niece of Alice Seely.

Processing Information

Processed by Archivist Joseph Ditta, May 2018.

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Container List

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Volume : 1 Christmas cards (album)

Scope and Contents

No cards appear to have been sent in 1943 and 1969.

Box: 1 Folder : 1 Christmas cards (loose)

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