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Victorian Etiquette - On Calling Cards

In today's society, leaving a calling card is considered proper etiquette for the well-bred Victorian. It may only seem but a trifling and insignificant piece of paper; but to the refined, cultured individual, it conveys a subtle and unmistakable intelligence. Its physical appearance is of a fine textured paperboard, its engraving done in a plain script and its size neither too large nor too small which tends to suggest ostentation or whimsicalness.

On the first call of the season, a lady leaves with her own, her husband's, and those of her sons and daughters. After a dinner party, a lady leaves her husband's card with her own.

A married lady, when calling on another married lady, leaves two of her husband's cards along with her own.

When calling at a house where there is another lady besides the hostess, the visitor should leave two cards of her own, and two bearing her husband's name.

When calling on a mother and daughters, a lady should leave two cards.

Cards should be left or sent on the day of a reception, if illness, a death in the family, or any other cause prevents the acceptance of the invitation.

In large cities, in case of a change of residence, cards are sent out bearing the new address; but this is not the custom in small towns.

Invitations to an afternoon tea, reception or wedding, if one is unable to attend, should be acknowledge by cards sent by mail, or by messenger.

Calls should be paid within a week after the receipt of invitations to a dinner party.

Ten or fifteen minutes is the usual length of a formal call, half an hour is the "extreme" limit.

Never write "regrets" or "accepts" on a card; always respond with a formal note in such instances.

Below you can view a number of calling cards which I have created for your use (all have been digitally watermarked so please don't add them to any collection or claim them as your own). The rules are simple: (1) Download to your own computer and upload to your own server, and (2) the "Elisabeth Ashton" signature and URL are NOT to be removed from the image. You can add your own message on the card using a paint program and upload to your server. Go to my guestbook and when you get to the comments section insert it this way using your server and file name. You may also use another calling card of your choice if you wish.


If this is not possible, send me an e-mail and advise the URL so that I may download the image and place it on a special page which I will create for visitor calling cards or tell me which card you would like to use and send me your message in an email and I will add the text and add it to my page. There is a link below the viewer to get to the page where card may be downloaded.

Note: If you can't view the video below, just click on "Get Calling Card" link which opens in a new window.

Get Calling Card

pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) Basic Rules pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) Calling Cards pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) On Calling
pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) At Teas/Receptions pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) At the Theater pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) On Mourning
pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) The Dinner Party pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) Shopping pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) Breaches of Etiquette
pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) On the Street pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) In Church pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) On Traveling

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