To be historically correct, the term letterhead did not appear until 1890. Before then, it was called “letter paper.” (Yes, there is actually a History of Letterhead on the web.) I went searching for information on this subject because letterheads of the 19th century can be especially eye-catching.
(“Deutscher Gedenktag” means German Memorial Day–perhaps this elaborate letterhead has to do with an organization or event through the German Concordia Lodge of Cleveland?)
Apparently, before radio, TV and the Internet entered the scene, “letter paper” was a chief form of advertising, something businesses offered free to make themselves known. Over time, it seems to have grown into a cultural phenomenon, designers aiming to make as big an impact as TV advertisers on Superbowl Sunday.
It’s unclear what business the letter paper is supposed to be touting, but since Bremen was then a major port of departure for German emigrants, I have a hunch it was a travel agency.