Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Etiquette and "Card Droppers"

From the “Department of Stationery”– A late 1800’s registration and insurance card from a calling card order. It is also a suggestion that one have them save the steel-plate for Mrs. William Martin’s next card order.

The cards of the callers are being gotten up by the Broadway engravers in various unique styles, comic effects predominating in the designs, though a few attempts at poetical graces in delicacy of workmanship and suggestiveness of allegory to be remarked. The orders for such cards have been filled by the million. There never was such a demand as that which prevailed last week among the trade in bristol-board. This is accounted for by those best acquainted with the rules of social etiquette, by the great popularity of the new rule of leaving cards, instead of calling and gorging and guzzling in proof of good feeling for the party at whose expense you gorge and guzzle. Very sensible reform, truly— at least so think the engravers. –The New York Times, 1871

Back when calling cards were used more than business cards, the etiquette for calling cards was very strict and well-defined. Here are a few of the rules:
Husbands and Wives–
  • When the wife is calling, she can leave cards of the husband and sons if it is impossible for them to do so themselves.
  • After an entertainment, cards of the family can be left for the host and hostess by either the wife or any of the daughters.
Leaving Cards in Person– 
  • When cards with a message of congratulation are left in person, nothing should be written on it.
Leaving Cards in Person at Afternoon Teas– 
  • Women leave cards of their male relatives as well as their own, although their names may be announced upon entering the drawing-room. 
  • Guests leave their cards in a receptacle provided, or give them to the servant at the door.
Men’s Cards–
  • A bachelor should not use “At Home” cards as a woman does, nor to invite his friends by writing a date and “Music at Four” on his calling card in place of an invitation. 

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J .Graber, is the Site Editor for Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

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