Who Modeled for Christmas Seals?

1931 Vanderbilts in Carriage 1932 Christmas Seal Models 1935 Christmas Seal Model, Virginia McMullin 1938 Christmas Seal Models 1940 Christmas Seal Models with President FDR 1940 Christmas Seal Models on Poster Gretchen Johnson 1943 Christmas Seal Model Joan (Cahall) Turner Joan Cahall 1943 model article Gretchen Johnson 1943 Christmas Seal Model, showing caption Gretchen Johnson 1943 Christmas Seal Model, article Henry Martin Freyer with his team of oxen, Dick and Dime 1931 Christmas Seal featuring Vanderbilt Carriage Christmas Seals which Used Models

The models on the 1932 Christmas Seal, Carol and George Volkman, were children of the artist, and the 1935 Christmas Seal model was Virginia McMullin. However, In addition to 1932 and 1935, I located original National Tuberculosis Association publicity photos of 1938 and 1940 Christmas Seal models. It is clear that more than one set of models were used in 1940. The children who modeled for the 1940 Minnesota poster are older than the ones who met President FDR, who may or may not have modeled for the artist who created the 1940 seal. It is likely that the artists who created Christmas Seals, and the publicity departments that created all the related material, such as posters, employed many live models. Some years, which illustrated more life like characters are more likely to have used them in the creation of seals. Also illustrated are some seals we know had models, or were likely to have.

The models used in 1931 and 1947 are somewhat different because they were actual people.  The Vanderbilt carriage, and family was featured on the 1931 Christmas Seal years before Gloria, then 5,  became an international fashion designer. Henry Martin Freyer with his team of oxen, Dick and Dime are featured on the 1947 Christmas Seal; see article below. The only other specific people to appear on US Christmas Seals were pioneers in the Crusade against Tuberculosis, and they did not model.

More Christmas Seal Models Reported by our Readers:

1) Margaret (Peggy) Sewell was the model at the Olympic Hotel in Seattle Washington in 1935 and was 3 1/2 years old at the time. I am hoping someone has some pictures, or newspaper clippings of this.

2) Joan (Cahall) Turner, model for the 1943 Christmas Seal, passed away in 2006. Joan and her sister Shirley spent over 6 months as tuberculosis contact patients at Sunnybrook Cottage at Brandywine Sanatorium, in the State of Delaware. In the history of Christmas Seals Brandywine is famous because Emily Bissell created the first US Christmas Seal, in large part to raise the needed funds to keep their doors open.

3) Gretchen Johnson was a model for a 1943 Christmas Seal  poster used in Minnesota. She had recovered from TB at the Glen Lake Sanatorium, as stated in the Blooming Prairie Times, Blooming Prairie, MN.

4) Robert Browning Nicodemus,1/5/34 – 10/27/97was a 1940 Christmas Seal model. Here’s a link to a newspaper article that mentions this.  The article mistakenly names him Robert D. Nicodemus, when his name was actually Robert B. Nicodemus – Reported by his son, Burton Nicodemus.


5) Henry Martin Freyer with his team of oxen, Dick and Dime, pictured on the 1947 Christmas Seal. Reported by great hrandson Tim Gallaher.


If anyone has any information on Christmas Seal models, please email your webmaster, john@christmasseals.net. Any information gathered will be reported on this "News" page.

PDF icon 1947 Great Grandad and the Christmas Seal.pdf PDF icon 1940 Christmas Seal models newspaper.pdf