The History of the Thank You Note

It’s considered common courtesy to send a thank-you note to someone who gives you a gift, attends your event, or does something especially kind or thoughtful for you. However, have you ever wondered when the tradition started? As it turns out, it’s probably much earlier than you realized.

The first versions of what people today would think of as thank you notes originated in the 1400s when Europeans exchanged greeting cards with their friends and family members. This was a new form of social expression that involved delivering the notes by hand. Even before that, though, Chinese and Egyptian people wrote messages on papyrus paper to communicate with their friends and wish one another good luck.

Then, in 1856, Pouis Prang, brought thank you notes to the United States after immigrating from Germany, furthering a practice that arguably started long before that time in other parts of the world. Although postage stamps were invented in 1840 and thus, before thank-you notes arrived in the United States, historians attribute the postage stamp to helping the thank you note make its big break into the mainstream.

Due to its availability, people could send thank-you notes outside of their local areas, perhaps to show appreciation for loved ones who lived across the country. It also became popular for consumers to buy special books filled with thank-you notes designed by artists.

Once people started using the internet for electronic communications, many companies launched sites with thank you cards users could send to anyone with an email address. Those options often have animations and fun fonts that bring some whimsy, but they’re not as personal as the physical cards filled with handwritten messages.

Our assortment of beautiful thank you notes to carry on the thoughtful tradition of reaching out to people who matter to you. Whether you prefer a handpainted botanical design or a contemporary pattern, our notes feature beautiful art from artists and museums around the world. Additionally, our boxed note cards are ideal for those times when you want to send a thoughtful note other than to say "thank you".

We live in a fast-paced world that has changed substantially over the generations. However, one thing that remains true is that people still love feeling that others care. You can show an extra bit of thoughtfulness by making the simple but impactful decision to send a handwritten thank you note to a person who matters to you.

Thank You Notes
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