Thursday, May 4, 2017

Joyce C. Hall

Joyce Clyde Hall (1891-1982) = Entrepreneur. Founder of Hallmark Cards. Born Aug. 29, 1891, in tiny David City, Butler County, Nebraska, the youngest son of George Nelson Hall, an itinerant preacher and inventor of a wire fly swatter, and Nancy Dudley (Houston) Hall, was named in honor of the Methodist bishop, Rev. Isaac W. Joyce, who was in David City the day he was born.
At the tender age of eight or nine, Joyce went to work, doing whatever a small child could find to do to bring home a little money. When he was sixteen, after a traveling salesman stopped by the local bookstore with his picture postcards, J.C. and his older brothers, William and Rollie, got their heads together, pooled their money and began selling imported post cards too. They called their new business venture the Norfolk Post Card Company. Two years later, J.C. loaded up two shoeboxes of postcards, rode the train into Kansas City,  arriving on January 10, 1910. Within days of his arrival, he was selling his cards to drugstores, bookstores, and gift shops from the top floor of the local YMCA.  At the time, picture postcards were collected and put into scrapbook albums, but J.C. felt that they lacked a private, personal touch, so Rollie joined J.C. in Kansas City and they formed their company called Hall Brothers. After a fire in January of 1915, they set up shop again and bought an engraver's printing presses to produce their own greeting cards. Impressed by the hallmark of medieval goldsmiths, J.C. began printing his cards with his hallmark on the back of each one by 1928.
In 1921, he married his wife Elizabeth Ann Dilday (1896-1976) and had three children: Elizabeth Ann Reid, Barbara Louise Marshall, and Donald Joyce Hall. Donald became president and CEO of Hallmark when JC retired in 1966, and his sons, Donald, Jr. and David E., have impressed their mark on the company too.
Mr. Hall's wife, Elizabeth Ann, died in 1976 and was buried in Kansas City's Forest Hill cemetery. J. C. followed in 1982 at the age of 91 and was laid to rest next to her.

Quote: "Guard your integrity, because it's your greatest asset."

More to Read:
1. About J.C. Hall
2. About Hallmark -- Company Code and Vision Statement, Hallmark's History and Timeline, Divisions, etc.
3. Dayspring Products
4. Wikipedia
5. When You Care Enough. Autobiography by Joyce C. Hall with Curtiss Anderson. Kansas City: Hallmark Cards, Inc., 1979, reprinted 1992.
6. The Very Best from Hallmark: Greeting Cards Through the Years. by Ellen Sterns. Harry N. Abrams, New York, 1988.
7. Here Lies Kansas City: A Collection of Our City’s Notables and Their Final Resting Places. By Wilda Sandy. 1984.
8. YouTube Video: Crown Minute No. 1: Mr. J.C.
9. Wrapping Paper was invented by Mr. Hall in Kansas City! 
10. Findagrave # 1428

Historical Note: From the mid-1930s through the 1950s, J.C. Hall approved every single Hallmark card, giving his official thumbs up by writing "OK JC" on the back. In 1939, an artist, Dorothy Maienschein, who worked for Hallmark, made a watercolor of a bunch of pansies in a basket. It was the most popular card ever sold and in 2010, the US Postal Service created a postage stamp from a corner of the image.

Places to Visit:
1.  Hallmark Cards Visitor Center, Crown Center Complex, 2500 Grand Ave, Kansas City, MO. 
2. Coterie Children's Theatre, Crown Center Complex, 2450 Grand Blvd, Suite 144, KCMO
3. Crayola Store, Crown Center, 2450 Grand, KCMO
4. Eat lunch at the Crayola Café, Crown Center,
5. Eat lunch at Fritz's Railroad Restaurant, Crown Center, 2450 Grand, KCMO
6. Crown Center Ice Skating Rink, 2425 Grand, KCMO (seasonal)
7.  Kaleidoscope, Crown Center Complex, 2500 Grand Ave, KCMO
8.  Lego Land Discovery Center, Crown Center Complex, 2475 Grand Blvd., KCMO
9. Musical Theater Heritage, Crown Center Complex, 2450 Grand Blvd KCMO
10.  Sea Life Aquarium, Crown Center District, 2475 Grand Blvd, KCMO
11. A Hallmark Gold Crown Gift Shop

Quote:  "If a man goes into business with only the idea of making a lot of money, chances are he won't. But if he puts service and quality first, the money will take care of itself. Producing a first-class product that is a real need is a much stronger motivation for success than getting rich."


  1. Fantastic article! Tuck & Sons were the largest producers of picture post cards at the time. It would be interesting to know if those are the cards the Hall brothers were selling, mainly because there is now a Public Domain DB of Tuck cards that I use for journal crafting. And Hallmark cards is still going strong! :)

    1. Why, thank you! I own the second book mentioned in "More to Read" and I believe that Tuck was one of the companies mentioned in it.
      In the introduction of the book, here's the postcard companies listed: Raphael Tuck and Sons in England, German lithography imports (good and bad), and Detroit Publishing (60,000 different cards). By 1912, Hall was publishing his own postcards of Kansas City sights.

    2. Here's the history of the Tuck postcard company:

    3. If you are a homeschool family and would like to study more about postcards, I compiled and published an unit study about them for my craft blog some time ago. Here's the link:

  2. Thanks for the history lesson. I had no idea who was the founder of Hallmark cards until I read this.

  3. Wonderful biography!! My husband is from Nebraska, and knows a bit of this, but not the total story!! LOVE IT!! Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Very enjoyable article. Small beginnings, risks, & hard work can make a dream a reality. I bet it grew more than he ever imagined.


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