The History of Christmas and Chanukah Cards, Our Geezers and NAVH in San Francisco.
It all began with a little boy who was born with a pigment deficiency called Albinism. His mother, Lorraine Marchi, discovered that although partial vision was far from rare, children and adults had a strong tendency to hide it and there were no large print books available for them to read. She formed a committee to print large print books for children and later for adults. Lorraine learned the printing game and began to print on an offset press at a local San Francisco hospital. Then she persuaded an organization to buy her a two color press which she installed in the basement of her home in Laurel Heights. Lorraine attracted many volunteers to expand the book printing operation and then went on to form National Aid to Visually Handicapped or NAVH — later known as the National Association for Visually Handicapped.
Harriet Hunter was one of the early volunteers and she knew that funds for the struggling organization were needed to continue printing the books and offering guides and visual aids to millions of “low-vision” people. So, energetic Lorraine solicited OUR Harriet, Alice Harth and Jane Kristiansen to find artists who would contribute their talent in designing Christmas and Chanukah cards.
A few of our Geezer contributors were : Fred Meinke, Dick Moore, Annie Thompson, Jane Oka, Bill Hyde, Lowell Herrero, Charlotte Stevenson, Mike Dattel, Alice Harth, Harriet Hunter and Jane Kristiansen. Many of these artists and volunteers would work on weekends to help Lorraine print and fold the cards in the Summer and Fall to be ready for the holiday sales. There were full color catalogs sent out prior to that time which were also printed in the basement. Several years later the cards were printed professionally and for many years were collected by supporters of NAVH.
Click on the image for a larger view
The money brought from sales of cards helped the organization stay afloat. Lorraine passed away in 2011 but her vision to help “Hard of Seeing” people continues here in San Francisco and New York.
This NAVH history and collection of cards is shared by Jane Kristiansen.
Note : Only a few cards were available for 1963. The collections for years 1964 to 1966 are mostly complete. The only example for 1967, is my card which luckily we sold at great quantity to Thomas C. Lynch, the 25th Attorney General of California, appointed Attorney General by Governor Pat Brown in August of 1964.
Next December, I plan to show additional collections of NAVH cards.