The National Card Co. was formed in c.1886 by Samuel J Murray, who as a young man had worked in England in Charles Goodall's playing card factory. In 1881 he moved to Cincinnati and became an employee of Russell & Morgan playing card manufacturers. In 1886 he left Russell & Morgan and moved to Indianapolis to establish the National Card Company.
This beautiful deck features an oval half-tone photo of a theatre star on each card, many of them legendary names, along with their autograph beneath. The border artwork consists of a different coloured floral pattern for each suit. The back has a decorative panel with theatre masks.
Over the years the pressures of competition and other market forces have led to many smaller manufacturers being taken over by larger ones. The outcome is that the U.S.P.C.C. is now the largest manufacturer in the United States, and has inherited many brands previously owned by smaller manufacturers.