A Desk Book on the Etiquette of Social Stationery/Chapter 7
A bit of pasteboard and a line of script—its insignificance is a snare to the ignorant, a The Card delusion to the misinformed. Milady's visiting card guides her down the social path, and the correct choice in size, shape and kind is of the greatest import.
Quality The quality of the card is a matter which the standard stationer may decide. The best is none too good, for a poor paper speaks its fabric as does a shoddy velvet.
An unglazed card of heavy smoothness bears the touch of quality between one's fingers, and its high texture is quickly traced by comparison.
Shape and Size Its shape fluctuates somewhat to taste, but an approved card calls for a medium size. Two and three-quarters by one and three-quarter inches is beyond reproach. The type of the card must show the best engraving, and upon no consideration be printed.
A man's card must follow the length and type of his wife's, and measures two and three-quarters by one and one-quarter inches.
A married woman's card bears her husband's name thus:
A Widow's Card A widow may prefer her maiden name, thus: Kate Hudson White, but it is considered better form to retain a husband's Christian name. The senior matron of the oldest family branch may inscribe her card: Mrs. Towne.
Divorced Woman's Card A divorced woman uses her own name with her husband's, thus: Mrs. Louise Thompson Browne; Thompson being her maiden name. Should she legally reclaim her maiden name her card appears: Mrs. Louise Thompson.
Miss and Misses When a young girl enters society her name appears below that of her mother's, thus:
Mrs. James Hudson Brown
on a somewhat larger card.
This continues during her first season, after which she bears a separate card which, if she is the eldest daughter, reads: Miss Brown.
These cards are used when mother and daughter call together. Should the mother call alone, she leaves her personal card.
A daughter is expected to pay calls only in company with her mother during her first season.
When two sisters enter society together, The Misses Brown is added below their mother's name, or
Miss Francis Brown
Men's Cards A man's calling card always bears the title Mr., and should show his full name.
A bachelor may have his home or club address in tiny lettering at the lower right corner of his card.A woman's house address appears at the lower right corner of her card, her "At Home" day at the left. A receiving day never appears on a man's card.
Should a woman use her visiting card as an invitation, she adds the date and hour in writing at the left corner.
Professors do not use their title on their cards. Titles Doctor A physician's social card reads either: Dr. Henry Stewart Peters or Henry Stewart Peters, M. D. His professional card bears his address, office hours and telephone number in small script.
Minister A clergyman's card reads: Rev. Thomas D. Loyde.
Card Etiquette A married woman leaves one of her own and two of her husband's cards when calling on another married woman. A woman never leaves her card for the men of the household. The custom of leaving a large number of cards is quite obsolete. Not more than three is a good rule to follow. One card for the Misses Brown includes the unmarried daughters of the family.
First Calls First calls should be returned within a fortnight, or upon the first "At Home" day.
Who makes the first call is a matter based on the existing social rule of the town or city. In Washington the newcomer calls first, thus choosing her friends. An undesirable acquaintance may be dropped after the second visit, but the first call must be returned in person or by an invitation, which stands for a call. If one calls accompanied by a friend who is not on the hostess' calling list, her name is not presented, nor is her chance visit considered a call.
Visitors A man, in calling on a friend who is visiting at a house where he is not acquainted, leaves a card also for the hostess, but need not ask for her. She should, however, endeavor to meet him cordially before he leaves the house.
Invitation Etiquette Invitations which mark an especial hour must be acknowledged by note, but those which show a choice of hours, as from four until six, are not answered save by a card sent on the day, or left when one attends. An "At Home" or tea does not require an after call, excepting in small cities where it is somewhat of an event, when an after call becomes a courtesy.
If one is unable to accept an invitation, a call must be made within a fortnight. Cards should be left or sent within two weeks to the bride's mother after a wedding announcement or invitation.
Leaving Cards Cards are not left for each member of the receiving party, one card for each person calling includes all. If, however, the invitation includes the name of a special guest, or is sent in more than one name, extra cards are left.
In sending cards, when the tea is given by more than one, a card is enclosed for each name, and addressed to the one at whose house it takes place.
Cards are not sent on the reception day when the invitation has already been acknowledged by note, and are never left at an evening affair.
In calling one's card is handed to the servant who opens the door, but never to one's hostess should she happen to admit you. A husband's cards are left on the card tray, not sent up, but are added to the wife's if the hostess is not at home. On an "At Home" day or afternoon tea, cards are not given to the maid, but are left on the card tray in passing.Actual Size 4⅞ x 3
Acknowledging Sympathy Sympathy or Condolence written on one's card is sent the day after a death. These cards may be acknowledged, where a large circle of friends and acquaintances exists, by a black-bordered correspondence card, as shown on this page.
The personal notes, however, from intimate friends should be acknowledged by writing.
The width of the border depends largely on taste and one's near relation. The extremely wide band, even on a widow's card, is not considered good form.
Border for both cards and stationery measures one-quarter inch correctly for deepest mourning. The following scale shows the different widths of borders employed:
For those in Mourning The rules of mourning are not as strict as in past years. It is, however, incorrect to make calls or enter formal society within a year after the death of a near relative.
Invitations may be sent within a few months as an act of courtesy to those in mourning.
New cards are not a necessity, as the border can be added at any good stationer's, within a few hours.
Births A tiny card, announcing a baby's birth, is tied with a white ribbon to a card showing the mother's and father's names. The small card has the baby's birth date engraved at the left hand corner. These are sent to all friends of the parents. An engraved birth card is shown at some stationers' ready for filling in and is most quaintly lettered, with touches of pink for a girl and blue for a boy.Actual Size 3¼ x 2¼ The following is a reproduction in a smaller size of one such card:
Crane's Calling Cards, like Crane's Wedding Papers, have never been displaced in the regard of the stationer who engraves for people of taste, because such people have never been so well pleased with anything else.