Early Generic Use of the Term, "Christmas Seals"

1910 Generic Use of the term, Christmas Seals 1910 Generic Use of the term, Christmas Seals 1910 Generic Use of the term, Christmas Seals

A U.S. patent was granted for "Christmas Seals" in 1910. These were commercial letter shaped stickers for sealing envelopes. The term "Christmas seal" was used in 1905 for similar decorative labels sold in stores. This predates the ALA's claimed use of the term beginning in 1907 for their particular charity seal. Since they didn't register the mark until 1987 and there are many other charities like Boys Town, National Wildlife Federation and Holy Childhood that mailed out their "Christmas Seals," as so identified in appeal letters or on the selvage of seals, long before then, a cancellation of their trademark could one day happen. The ALA's trademark could be canceled on both grounds of generic name and their inability to prove usage of the term "Christmas seal" for charity stamps in 1907.

That would be a sad day for many, however the CS&CSS wishes the ALA would relax their threats of lawsuits to collectors who refer to US local tuberculosis, and foreign TB fundraising seals issued at Christmas time, as "Christmas Seals". After all, Emily Bissell, designer of the first US Christmas Seal in 1907, gave credit to Denmark (1904) for conceiving the idea of a TB fundraising seal issued during the Christmas season. In 1919 The ALA adopted the international symbol of the fight against TB, the Cross of Lorraine, or double barred cross, used by many nations on their Christmas TB fundraising seals prior to 1919.