2023 Christmas Seals Exhibit DPA

Exhibit at the Delaware Public Archives: Celebrating Emily Bissell, “The Christmas Seal Story”

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2023 Christmas Seals Exhibit DPA


This holiday season the Delaware Public Archives will present an exhibit “Celebrating Emily Bissell: The Christmas Seal Story.”

The exhibit chronicles the beginning of Christmas Seals, and presents historic Christmas Seals, scrap books, photographs and documents related to Ms. Bissell’s efforts to foster public interest and gain support to raise funds to battle tuberculosis.

Emily Bissell was a Delaware Social Activist and Social Worker, who in the early 20th century, was driven to find a way to help people with tuberculosis (TB), historically called “consumption,” that was causing widespread public concern in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Tuberculosis is a serious bacterial illness that primarily affects the lungs.

Ms. Bissell initiated efforts to encourage the public to attach a special stamp (Christmas Seal) to their mail; the proceeds of which going to Health Departments to fight the disease.

The centerpiece of the exhibit is the original oil portrait of Emily Bissell that hung in the recently closed Emily P. Bissell State Hospital.

The free exhibition is available for the public to visit during business hours at the Delaware Public Archives, 121 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, North, Dover, Delaware 19901.

Find out more about the Delaware Public Archives here.


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