Galleons and Galleons of Good Cheer! – Ephemera Society of America

As I got further into collecting vintage greeting cards—especially those of 1920-1940 vintage—I soon noticed an oddity. .. a then-commonplace but nowadays never-seen symbol of Christmas. Christmas cards of the time period frequently featured a ship on the eminent seas, an ancient galleon. What was that all about ? How and why did a embark at sea symbolize Christmas ? And if it somehow did, why is it no longer seen ?
I believe the answer lies with a 1914 adept Samaritan crusade. A major feat was mounted across the USA to collect toy “. .. for those poor little children in Europe who are now homeless, pale and barren because their fathers and brothers have been killed or crippled in the Great War over there. ” A birdcall “ The Christmas Ship ” written by one Henry S. Sawyer, gained popularity and was published as tabloid music. Although the collected goodies were actually to be shipped to Europe on a modern “ big warship ”, the brood of the sheet music was illustrated with an honest-to-god galleon, “ to represent The Spirit of the Christmas Ship. ” This “ nation-wide motion of love and charity by contributing toys, money, and useful gifts to the Christmas Ship ! ” was directed primarily at children .
The song starts :
Come, boys and girls, just listen to this news for you and me:

They’re going to send a Christmas Ship across the great blue sea!
It’s going to be filled with gifts for families abroad
who’ve suffered in this cruel war from fire, gun, and sword.

Now all the boys and all the girls will ev’ry effort bend
To see how many useful things they to the ship can send.

The back traverse of the sheet music, published by the McKinley Music Company of NYC, carries extensive textbook about the project. It suggests forming clubs to gather gifts. It states that “ One whole township in Illinois has been turned into a workshop for preparing gifts for the Christmas Ship. Every man, woman and child in LaRose is busy. The Sunday Schools are taking up collections ; the Ladies ’ Aid societies are making warmly little garments ; a moving movie company is planning a benefit ; the young men will give a charity ball ; the girls are making aprons ; the little boys are going to have a pigeon sale, climbing to the campanile of the old church after the birds ; while in the school are ‘ penny boxes ’ into which the pupils may drop their pennies. The women are planning a proto-indo european sale, besides social affairs where a small admission fee will make the Ship fund that much the larger. ”
therefore, after the war in the 1920s and into the 1930s, a Christmas Ship galleon remained symbolic of the spirit of Christmas. The Arts and Crafts style of many were disingenuously done .

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