Ladies Calling Cards

Post by Gail’s daughter, Virginia Allain.

The image below is a calling card from the 1880s. It came to me with a batch of antique valentines for my collection. At one time, someone saved this many years ago and pasted it into their scrapbook.

Back in those days, ladies made formal visits to their friends. A card like this would be left on a fancy tray to show they had been to call. It’s sort of a lady’s version of business cards. Probably women saved them since they were so pretty.

Calling card from the collection of Virginia Allain

Notice how lavish the design is with roses and lily of the valley flowers, and along the edge violets. There are lace and lavender ribbon with a gold edge. The words in the center say “Peace Forever.

I like that thought. I wish we would have peace forever. Peace in our families. Peace in our communities. Peace in the world.

You can see a sampling of my ephemera collection on the Hubpages site. It’s called “My Tips for Collecting and Displaying Vintage Valentines.

When I shared this photo with my friends, here are their thoughts:

Chula – I’ve collected old paper since I was little. I love the calling cards. Even the plain ones with just names printed on them are fun to see. This one is very beautiful.

Karen – We used “calling cards” in the expat community in India when I lived there, probably a carryover from British colonial days. Most of them included a map on the reverse side giving directions to your residence. Addresses were long and complex and streets/roads often weren’t marked–you just had to “know” it was such-and-such street, hence the map.

Kathy – Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we did have peace forever. I thought that was a curious thing for this calling card to say, by the way. It is lovely.

Marsha – I love the older cards like that. My mom has so many of them, including Valentines.

Pammie  – Wow that is cool, I had never seen such a card before.

Rachel – What a great old custom that was, dating back to a simpler time when manners still mattered.

Marilyn – I love it. It’s so pretty. I have scrapbooks of cards my mother collected. I will have to look and see if she had calling cards in her collections.

calling cards in a tray

Calling cards on a tray in a vintage house museum in Kentucky

 

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