Skip to main content

Louis Prang papers, 1848-1932

Prang, Louis, 1824-1909

Lithographer, Printmaker, Publisher

This site provides access to the papers of Louis Prang in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2015, and total 261 images.

Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Collection Information

Size: 1.2 linear feet

Summary: The papers of lithographer Louis Prang date from 1848 to 1932 and measure 1.2 linear feet. Found within the papers are biographical material, writings, art work, card samples, printed material, and photographs.
Biographical material includes a Prussian arrest warrant for Prang, a passport, a receipt for household purchases, patent and membership certificates, and a photocopy of a letter from John Greenleaf Whittier.
Writings are primarily typescripts of lectures by Prang and a typescript "Lithographic Process Used by Louis Prang" by the donor, E. Wrightson Christopher, and a hand-written page concerning a card design competition by Clarence Cook.
Art work consists of a pencil drawing executed by Prang, possibly as a school assignment. Printed material consists of a book of color separation proofs, a sales book of samples of Prang's products, and catalogs for Easter and Valentine cards. Photographs are of Prang, family members, his residence, events, and colleagues.

Biographical/Historical Note

Louis Prang (1824-1909) of Boston, Massachusetts, was a lithographer and wood engraver, famous for his chromolithographic reproductions of major works of art as well as for a series of publications used for art education in public schools. With Julius Meyer, he founded the lithographic business, Prang & Meyer in 1856 which later became L. Prang & Co. Prang reproduced paintings by noted 19th century artists, and introduced the Christmas card in the 1870s. He is considered the founder of the greeting card business in the U.S.


The Louis Prang papers were donated in 1989 by Thomas West Christopher, M.D., son of E. Wrightson Christopher who compiled the papers while he was a publisher of greeting cards. A photocopied letter and a sales book of samples were donated separately and have unknown provenances.

Related Materials


Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.