Profile America — Sunday, December 4th. Christmas Seals in the U.S. first appeared 104 years ago this week. Started in Denmark, the first seals in America went on sale in 1907 at a table set up in the Wilmington, Delaware, post office. The idea was to sell special stamps designed by Emily Bissell to put on Christmas mailings, with the profits helping in the fight against tuberculosis, then the nation’s number one killer. The goal was $300, and 10 times that amount were sold. The next year, sales reached $135,000. From then on, Christmas Seals have been sold nationwide. Today, these special stamps are still sold by the American Lung Association — one of the charities to which Americans contribute $173 billion a year. Profile America is in its 15th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.
Sources: American Lung Association
Statistical Abstract of the United States 2012, t. 489