Sunday, June 15, 2014

Maker - The Buzza Co and Buzza Cardozo

Yes..I've got a bow around me But it doesn't suit my taste, 'Cause gee! the only Beau I've got Is the one around my waist.

4 1/2" x 6 3/4"
circa 1930s
  Flat with Stand
marked: Buzza Co
Pre name change to Buzza-Cardozo in late 1930s

George Earl Buzza (born June 22, 1882) had already been working as a commercial artist when he began making greeting cards in 1909. He started with a set of 24 different designs that have been described as "poster-like" and stood out as unusual in the greeting card market. The company was first called The Buzza Rheem Company, soon changing to The Buzza Company. 

Though he struggled for the first 6 years, eventually his unusual style and high quality won over many fans leading the company to expand in 1915, from its one-man show origins. They had of course by then, long ago moved on from the original poster style of the earliest cards, expanding to include a diverse array of cards. C. D. Van Gorder is credited with helping design quite a number of cards after this point. Ralph Nunus Cardozo (b June 14, 1894) who went on to become a partner with Buzza after the sale of the original Buzza company, was with the company in its early years. Other important early figures include artists Lee Mero, Bernice Shaver and Janet Scott.

I want my Sweetie!

3" x 4 5/8"
circa 1930s
  Flat with Stand
marked: The Buzza Co


In 1922 the company obtained exclusive rights to use the writings of "Just Folks" poet, Edgar A. Guest, in its cards and mottos. In addition the company employed J. P. McEvoy as a writer. George Buzza himself continued to contribute his own creativity, including original verse, to the cards his company produced. Another hallmark of the company was the high quality and often unusual colors and textures of the papers used in manufacturing their greetings.

The company moved from Minneapolis, Minnesotta to Hollywood, California in the 1930s. At the same time they changed their name to Buzza-Cardozo with Ralph Cardozo now a full partner with George Buzza. There are mentions in some sources of the original company being sold with George Buzza planning to retire upon his move to California. Whether this was the intention or not, it was not to become reality, as George instead launched a new endeavor with Ralph Cardozo, who also made the trek from Minnesota to California. The building they had occupied in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis from 1923 remained a design studio for the company after the move, until 1942 when it was acquired by the federal government and used for war-time manufacturing by the Minneapolis-Honeywell Regulator Company. Still bearing the Buzza name, the building is now listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

 Me for You on Valentine's Day - I'd like to pilot Cupid's Boat Upon Love's ocean blue Then quickly bring it into port And just TIE-UP to you.

5 3/4" x 3 1/4"
circa 1920s  
   by The Buzza Co
 marked: Craftacres, Mpls., U.S.A.

While some sources report the liquidation of the company around World War II, this appears to be jumping the gun. There are copyright entries for the company dating into at least 1964. Gibson purchased Buzza-Cardozo in the early 1950s, so was likely continuing the name for some period after the purchase.

George Buzza passed away in Guatemala on April 11th, 1957 on his way home to Los Angeles after a vacation. Ralph Cardozo passed on January 17, 1965.


  • Valentine Treasury - Robert Brenner
  • The Romance of the Greeting Card (1956 revised edition) - Ernest Dudley Chase
  • Obituary of George Buzza, Cedar Rapids Gazzette; April 14, 1957
  • National Register of Historic Places Registration form for the Buzza Building
  • Valentines: A Collector's Guide - Barbara Johnson, Ph. D.
  • Cincinnati Magazine, Aug 1975; Greetings from Gibson, by Carole M. McCarthy; pp 13
  • Jack Older (January 1932). "Humor in Cards Hits Depression". Pacific Coast Gift and Art Magazine.


  1. I found this information to be very fascination. I have acquired a shut the box type game with the Buzza Cardozo tag on the back. This seems like an unusual item for them to have made and definitely a stretch from greeting cards.

  2. Buzza-Cardoza was in Hollywood by at least 1933, when they published their "Hollywood Cocktails" book.

  3. I found a little pamphlet with zeno klinker and buzza Cardozo on the back called Helpful Hints for Honey mooners. would you possibly know anything about this vintage piece?

  4. Zeno Klinker was a comedy writer. He worked with Edgar Bergen, writing jokes for his ventriloquist act featuring Charlie McCarthy. Bergen's character Effie Klinker is named so in honor of Mr. Klinker.

    In the 1930s Zeno and his sister, the artist Orpha Klinker, established the Klinker Kraft Kard Company which published humorous cards. They called their greetings "burlesque cards." She did the artwork; he did the writing. I would presume that in this pamphlet, Mr. Klinker is probably the writer.

    The copyright for this pamphlet in question bears both Klinkers name and the Buzza-Cardozo company name. It is dated January 17, 1935. Klinker did several of these little "guide" booklrts for Buzza-Cardozo around the same time. Other titles include "Goofy Guides for Going-Awayers" and "To a Shut-In."

    Klinker was also an avid photographer. His role as head writer on Bergen's show granted him access to several celebrities. Among his most interesting images are a series of stereo-views he took of Marilyn Monroe.

  5. While going through my mother's paperwork after her passing, I came across a series of letters between Piper, Jaffray & Hopwell Inc. and E.E. Blackley c/o Buzza Clark Inc. regarding stock sales of the Buzza Clark Inc. PFD. The correspondence is dated from 1932 to Jan. 1940. There are letters, receipts and misc. Is there somewhere - a museum, historical society, etc. that I might donate these to.

  6. Working at the Minnesota location was my mothers first job, early 30s