The Hallmark story begins in 1910, when 18-year-old Joyce Clyde Hall stepped off a train in Kansas City, Mo., with nothing but two shoeboxes of postcards under his arm. He had little money, but he had an entrepreneurial spirit and the determination of a pioneer. Hall quickly made a name for himself with the picture postcards he sold. Rollie Hall joined his brother in business, and the company was named Hall Brothers. On Jan. 11, 1915, a fire destroyed their office and inventory. Though $17,000 in debt, they decided to press onward.
Meanwhile in Canada in 1916, William E. (“Bill”) Coutts set off on a sales journey across the country with a portfolio of 50 card designs. With the help of friends and family, and backed by a company in Illinois, Bill had created a line of Christmas cards. This was the start of William E. Coutts Company, Limited and, as Bill recalled, this sales trip “really started the whole thing off and from then on for me, the business was greeting cards.”