Most juvenile cards, like most adult cards, were unsigned, but a small percentage bear the artist's name. One of these went by the single name Angela, about whom little is known, aside from the fact that she was a prolific supplier to the Fravessi LaMont company during the 1940s. Another was Mabel Lucie Attwell, a popular British illustrator whose images were not only found on greeting and postcards and in children's books, but on kiddie china and fabrics, while Charlot Byj created a family of characters named Shaggy, Raggy Muffin and M'Lady O'Hair who graced numerous greeting cards (and later became Goebel figurines).
Greeting cards changed in style over the years, reflecting (though not too directly) general aesthetic changes and levels of sophistication. As pointed out by Linda McPherson (see below), in the 1930s the color palette was basically soft and muted. In the following two decades, graphics became much more vibrant, with an emphasis on bright, primary colors, and in the 1960s the designs became even bolder and more contemporary in flavor. And the range of reasons for commemoration expanded as well. No longer limited to birthdays and Valentine's day, cards came to accommodate Mother's and Father's Day, there were get well cards to and from children and a variety of other pretexts for communication.
Collecting children's greeting cards is an affordable avocation, with most examples ranging from $3 to $8 in price. There are many ways to form a specialized collection as well. Some obvious focal points are on a specific holiday, a single artist or by subject matter, such as age-numbered birthday cards, schoolroom scenes, cowboys and Indians, fairy tales and nursery rhymes (The American Greeting Card Company produced a boxed set of 16 ''Little Folks Nursery Rhyme'' cards, each with a four-page insert giving the song or story), advertising characters such as the Campbell's Kids, comic strip characters like Mandrake the Magician, Blondie and Dagwood, and Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters, or cards featuring dogs, cats or other animals.
A particular favorite are doll-themed cards, especially Hallmark Dolls from the Land of Make Believe made in the late 1940s and valued at up to $45 each.
''Collecting Vintage Children's Greeting Cards'' by Linda McPherson (Collector Books) is chockfull of representative examples, mostly from the 1930s to the 1960s, all illustrated and given a price value. It starts off with baby congratulations cards, then moves on to birthday cards, cards featuring Popeye, Disney and other cartoon characters, farm-, cowboy-, doll-, fairy tale- and nursery-themed cards, and holiday cards from Valentine's Day to Christmas. A useful section identifies the various known artists whose signatures can be found on the cards.
Linda Rosenkrantz has edited Auction magazine and authored 18 books, including ''Cool Names for Babies'' and ''The Baby Name Bible'' (St. Martin's Press; www.babynamebible.com). She cannot answer letters personally.