The History of Thank You Notes

silver thank you image by Brett Mulcahy from

"A personal, handwritten, thank-you note is the finest form of expressing gratitude," according to Advanced Etiquette. Take the time and effort to show genuine appreciation with a handwritten note card, as people have done for hundreds of years.

Early Thank You Notes

manuscript image by Sergey Galushko from

Messages of fortune and goodwill on slips of papyrus were the first known greetings exchanged in Chinese and Egyptian culture. In the 1400s, Europeans practiced exchanging notes as a new way of social expression, writing on paper and hand delivering greeting cards locally. In 1856, Pouis Prang, a German immigrant, brought greeting cards and notes to America.

Postage Stamps

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Postage stamps, invented in 1840, launched the idea of sending notes and cards into the mainstream. It became common to purchase printed notes and cards with artwork created by artists. Etiquette books began recommending appropriate practices for writing and sending thank you notes.

Electronic Cards

Thank you image by Warren Millar from

Technology has taken a primary role in sending and receiving thank you notes, invitations and general greetings. Electronic cards (ecards), are created on a computer and sent digitally. Even an ecard thank you note should be sent with a personal message of heartfelt thanks.