By Dana Gornitzki
A little piece of nostalgia from a vintage issue of Harper’s Bazaar: Victorian Etiquette for Gentlemen. (Don’t you just love it?)
“Visiting cards for the coming season are of unglazed card board, large and almost square. Tinted cards, especially buff, are fashionable. The lettering is in old English text, or in script…
One corner of the card is turned down to denote the object of the visit. In different cities, a different signification is attached to these broken cards. We give the custom of New York society. On the left hand upper corner, the word Visite is engraved on the reverse side. This corner is turned downed, displaying the word on the front of the card to signify that an ordinary call is made. On the right hand corner is Felicitation, to be used when making a visit of congratulation on some happy event, such as a marriage, or the birth of a child. On the left lower side is Conge, or Good-bye. The remaining corner is marked Condolence.”
Source: “Fashion in Calling Cards”, 1868 [electronic edition]. Harper’s Bazaar, Nineteenth Century Fashion Magazine, http://harpersbazaar.victorian-ebooks.com (2005).