Encyclopedia of the Great Plains

David J. Wishart, Editor


Joyce C. Hall, born in David City, Nebraska, founded Hallmark Cards, Inc. in 1910. His brother Rollie joined him in 1911, and the two brothers opened up a specialty store in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The original company was called Hall Brothers, Inc., and the men were jobbers of greeting cards, buying designs created and manufactured elsewhere and then selling them wholesale to drugstores, bookstores, and gift shops.

In 1915 the Hall Brothers changed the scope of their operations after a devastating fire that destroyed the storefront and all of their inventory. The brothers purchased an engraving firm and began creating the first original Hallmark designs. William Hall, who had stayed behind to run a bookstore in the family's hometown of Norfolk, Nebraska, joined Joyce and Rollie in 1921. The company changed its name in 1954 to Hallmark Cards, Inc.

Still privately owned, the company reported consolidated net sales in excess of $3.9 billion in 1998. Hallmark publishes its products in more than thirty languages and distributes them in more than 100 countries. Domestically, the company has approximately 47,000 domestic retail outlets. Hallmark employs almost 21,000 people worldwide, with about 10,000 of them in the Great Plains. The creative staff consists of more than 700 people who produce 30,000 new or redesigned greeting cards and related products annually. In addition to greeting cards, the firm sells holiday ornaments, writing paper, jigsaw puzzles, photo albums, calendars, gift wrap, ribbons, home decor specialty products, party goods, and a variety of other gift items.

Hallmark operates manufacturing plants in Kansas City, Missouri, and Lawrence, Topeka, and Leavenworth, Kansas. Distribution plants are located in Liberty, Missouri, and Enfield, Connecticut. In addition, two of the company's major subsidiaries have operations in the Great Plains. These include Binney & Smith, headquartered in Easton, Pennsylvania, the maker of Crayola, Liquitex, and Silly Putty, and Crown Center, an eighty-five-acre commercial and residential complex adjacent to the Hallmark headquarters in Kansas City. The Crown Center complex attracts more than five million people annually.

David Berkowitz University of Alabama in Huntsville

Hall, J. C., with Curtiss Anderson. When You Care Enough. Kansas City: Hallmark Cards, Inc., 1992.

Hallmark Cards, Inc. Hallmark Press Kit. Kansas City, Missouri, 1999.

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