The Resurgence of Stationery

By Natalie Aldridge

I have a confession. The number of times I have mailed a handwritten note total the number of digits on my hands. Growing up in the age of the internet has provided me with a superb sixth sense for computer skills but a lacking penmanship ability. It comes as quite a surprise to those my senior to learn I was not taught cursive in school.

Now in my young adult years, I find myself gravitating towards pen and paper. I crave the beauty of pristine stationery and the physicality of inscribing a note. My telephone has become rife with images of ornate typography, charming note card designs from decades past, and of course, the exquisite artistry of vintage monograms.

Erica’s Sweet Tooth

Fort Bend Museum

While devouring the latest episode of The Gilded Age with a group of friends, we discussed the use of calling cards throughout the series. The tradition of a bygone era struck a chord in each of us.

Hardly a necessity in the modern era, each of us dreamed of whipping out a calling card to leave with a friend or a potential suitor. Better yet, leaving a card for one Mrs. Astor just as Bertha Russell so gracefully did in episode one. Though not so kindly taken by Mrs. Astor, the idea of toting delicately personalized cards with one’s information provides such an intimate and tangible moment.

A selection of calling cards from Newport Historical Society collection. Note the fold on the Astor card… We have a special guest post on the history of calling card etiquette next week!

It was clear after this conversation that we all desired to spark a resurgence of not only calling cards but traditional stationery. All of us having grown up in an era of digital communication suddenly began eagerly formulating ideas of how to incorporate the use of stationery in our everyday lives.

A likely result of digital fatigue, lack of personal connection throughout the pandemic, and the decline of formality in society, stationery has made a comeback. According to an article by Town & Country titled A Side Effect of the Pandemic? Stationery Sales Are Booming Right Now, Google Trends reported a 180% increase in the search term “what to write in a ‘thinking of you’ card?” in 2020, and the stationery brand Papier experienced a 300% increase of online sales.

Last fall, Inc. magazine highlighted the powerful business advantage companies can achieve through handwritten communication. “Emails and printed mailers aren’t reaching your customer,” the magazine reports. “More importantly, neither form of communication tells your client or customer something vital: that you care about them.” However, estimates suggest that personalized notes are opened at an overwhelming rate of 98 percent! “Handwritten notes are treasured and saved, creating an ongoing brand impression for months or even years,” states Inc.

Love letters from Jackie to JFK at auction

Over the Moon

Mrs. John L. Strong

Everything old is new again. In December 2020, Marie Claire highlighted the new digitally savvy generations putting their stamp on the traditional greeting-card business. “Thanks to millennials and Gen Z, the incredibly analog business is experiencing a rebirth,” the magazine reports. Winnie Park, CEO of Paper Source told Marie Claire, “People may be surprised, but our number-one customers for paper goods are actually millennials. They are our fastest growing segment.”

Why? “Blame screen burnout, for one—the same thing that has millennials snapping up vintage typewriters and real-film Polaroid cameras,” says Marie Claire. And let’s not forget the Grandmillennial movement that has sky-rocked the popularity of timeless, classic “Granny Chic” interior design.

While stationery and hand written notes never disappeared, they have certainly taken a back seat to technology, and a rebound seems inevitable. What was thought to be a custom of the past has taken hold once more, filling the void of physical connection we have missed over the last two years.

Ashley D. Studio

Dulles Designs

Emily Post writes, “When I get a handwritten letter, I’m excited to open it. The art of the postage stamp, the feel of the paper, the graphic quirks of a friend’s handwriting: There is simply nothing as personal as a handwritten note. In a stack of bills and flyers, it’s a treasure in a sealed packet, full of promise and potential. It is a visceral reminder of someone far away.”

The Glam Pad has eagerly taken note and watched with great interest as countless new players have entered the stationery market. Fresh and whimsical stationers such as Papier, Clementina Sketchbook, Dogwood Hill, and The Chain Press have started to dominate our Instagram feed as individuals are finding ways to correspond in an old-school manner while bringing a contemporary twist to the task.

Stephanie Fishwick

Walton Street Stationers

As guardians of tradition and old-fashioned niceties, the use of beautiful paper to convey personal thoughts kindles our hearts. It is safe to say the generation raised with computers as extensions of their arms has had enough. Nothing can compare to the personal touch. Analog always prevails.

x Natalie

Follow Natalie on Instagram: @natalieealdridge


Today’s feature marks the beginning of an exclusive six-week series on the art of letter writing, and all that is related to the subject. Below is an outline of topics we will cover:
    • APRIL 8: Why hand-written letters and fine stationery (and calling cards!) are making a comeback, particularly among the Millennial generation.
    • APRIL 15: The fascinating history of calling cards, and how they are relevant today. – A guest post by Nancy Sharon Collins.
    • APRIL 22: An overview of resources for fine stationery.  What pieces do today’s letter writing enthusiasts need in their wardrobe and why?
    • April 29:  A fabulously fun trend… Vintage stamps! How to begin a collection and use them to personalize your correspondence.
    • MAY 6: Why cursive handwriting is making a comeback, and what you can do to learn or improve.
    • MAY 13: The ultimate in customization – A bespoke monogram and stationery created by Nancy Sharon Collins.



  1. You never learned cursive??? ? I’m 59, we spent hours learning cursive. I’m going to say, grade 4-6
    It’s interesting that some age groups were never taught at all. I used to write letters to my aunt and uncle who retired to Florida, and mother made sure we ALWAYS wrote thank you cards when we revived gifts.
    I like your article and looking forward to the weeks ahead. Thank you!

  2. Oh I just love mailing letters. I make my own paper and envelopes and the recipents love opening them. This is going to be fun. Going to enjoy this.

  3. I was very confused when my great aunt left a very generous sum to my self and three cousins, but not to all of her nieces and nephews. When I asked why, I was told that we were the four that always wrote thank you notes; the others did not. Who knew my mother’s strict rule of thank you notes first, enjoy the gift after, would be so fortuitous?
    My two go to vendors, for all things stationery are The Printery, in Oyster Bay, and Jonathan Wright, in Los Angeles. Both are exceptional in quality and customer service. They never disappoint; I have been using both for years.

  4. My husband was a printer for Tiffany & Co for many, many years. He was very proud of his trade, engraved printer, Kind of a lost art now, with machines doing all the work. Over the years, he made us boxes of engraved stationery and the same Christmas cards that the Kennedys sent out while in the White House. He did all their personal stationery. I still have several boxes of my own with my beautifully engraved initials or name on the finest paper made. I’m so happy to hear that young people are embracing this very refined way of communicating. Thanks for encouraging many and promoting a move into a time where beauty, culture, and manners thrive again.

  5. Love this so much. And adore good stationery. Having been taught cursive at school I notice my penmanship has taken a turn for the worse. Looking forward to this series. xo

  6. I inherited a beautiful silver engraved calling card tray from my mom. I always thought it was beautiful on her foyer table, but for years didn’t know that it was anything more than a decorative trinket. When she told me the history behind calling cards, I loved it even more. I will always treasure it.

  7. Thank you for a reminder! A handwritten letter is so much fun to read many times! I plan to sit down this weekend and send out a card to friends!

  8. I am obsessed with stationery and absolutely love Dogwood Hill. My mother made us write thank you notes (always!) growing up and no one sends thank you’s anymore! Very important to me and I have personalized stationery for my 12 year old. I make him write thank you’s for sleepovers and he’s surprised that they go a long way and how appreciative parents are to receive them.

  9. Great write-up! At one point in my checkered past, I sold stationery at Bergdorf Goodman… one of my favorite customers was Baroness von Czenko… her crest in gilt engraved above her name in black ink on white stock was so elegant!
    She wore hats with veils, and gloves… under the glove was a big 20 carat yellow diamond ring! I still have a thank you note she sent me on one of her cards…

  10. I’ve always loved stationery and was taught from an early age to write thank you notes. Taught my two sons to write them, too.

  11. Can anyone ID the roses and butterflies stationery listed with Over the Moon? I don’t see it on their site.

    • It’s one we’ve had on file for a while, so it may no longer be available. They have so many other beautiful selections though! You might send a quick email to see if they will get any more of the rose. Sorry about that!!

      The Glam Pad

  12. Since I am a Baby Boomer, using beautifully monogrammed stationery written with my finest cursive was mandatory. My mother did not allow us to play with gifts until a proper thank you note was written and posted. In the 11th grade my English teacher insisted we use only fountain pens in her class. I treated myself to a beautiful French Waterman fountain pen the last time I was in Paris! To this day I write thank you notes for everything. I am so grateful for the training instilled in me by my mother and teachers.

  13. Hi!
    Thank you so much for writing what we were thinking when we started our small stationery business! This article makes me happy! I differ in the fact that I’ve always loved sending cards in the mail for birthdays, but as I get older, sending a handwritten card for any reason is fun!


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