A kindly postman named Einer Holboell, while sorting out heavy Christmas mail in 1903, noticed some children limping across the road. He was extremely moved by the sight of these children who were suffering from tuberculosis of the bone. A thought struck him.
If we could get people to buy a special Christmas Seal while the spirit of giving is strong during Christmas, it would be wonderful. There are so many letters and packages, and just a penny seal on each one would bring a lot of money to help the sick and needy children. There might even be enough to start a hospital for children.
The idea of Einer Holboell was received enthusiastically by the Danish people. The King of Denmark gave his approval. This was how the first Christmas Seal appear in 1904 with the Patronage of King Christian. The sale of Christmas Seals for collecting funds for anti-tuberculosis work was soon taken up by other countries and today almost all National TB Associations are collecting money through this Campaign We put Christmas Seals on everything, letters, packages, notes whatever they would fit.
Statement by the President on the Christmas Seal Campaign.November 16, 1950
TUBERCULOSIS has taken the lives of more than 5 million Americans in the past 50 years.
Tragic as this figure is, it would have been worse if the American people had not banded together to fight tuberculosis. They formed the National Tuberculosis Association in 1904 and launched a nationwide campaign against this disease. Since then, the TB death rate has been cut 85 percent. Yet I am informed that tuberculosis today leads all diseases as a cause of death in the age group from 15 to 35.
The progress already made is proof that further progress can be made and will be made, with the continued cooperative effort of the American people. One way of showing we are behind the antituberculosis campaign is to use Christmas Seals, sold annually to support the work of the NTA and the 3,000 State and local voluntary associations now affiliated with it.
First sold in this country in 1907, the Christmas Seal has become a symbol of the people's fight to eradicate tuberculosis. To hasten that day, I hope the American people will be generous this holiday season in their purchase of Christmas Seals.