Business and Labor

Flashback Photo: ‘Mother’s Care’ by Louis Prang

'Mother's Care' by Louis Prang & Co. Courtesy Boston Public Library.

'Mother's Care' by Louis Prang & Co. Courtesy Boston Public Library.

Boston printer Louis Prang was known as the father of the Christmas card, but he died before he could capitalize on Mother's Day. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother's Day a national holiday in 1914, and Prang died in 1909.. Still, this chromolithograph called Mother's Care could pass for a Mother's Day greeting card.

Prang was born on March 12, 1824 in Breslau, Poland. He got involved in revolutionary activities in 1848 and was forced to immigrate to the United States in 1850. He first worked in Boston for Frank Leslie, art director for Gleason's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, before setting up his own firm. Prang went to Germany in 1864 to study the new art of chromolithography. 

The knowledge he gained in Germany inspired him to invent the high-end greeting card. He also printed Valentines, maps, prints of buildings and towns in Massachusetts and high-quality reproductions of important works of art.

Louis Prang died on Sept. 14, 1909, while on vacation in Los Angeles.

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