Victorian Calling Cards – the first ATCs?

Like many people I make my own business cards for Scraps of Mind. Those of you who receive my free daily RSS Feed may have noticed the logo at the top. Well that is basically my business card.

scraps-of-mind-logo.jpgI simply created it in Photoshop Elements, merged the layers and then duplicated the resulting layer until I had enough to cover a sheet of A4 paper (by the way, I keep an unmerged file as well so I can easily make changes to the card without recreating it from scratch). Then I print it out on satin finish photo paper and stick the sheet onto some cardstock. Cut them out with my rotary cutter or scissors and give them a light sanding on the edges to remove any burrs. A couple of dozen usually lasts me a fair while so I don’t mind doing them by hand.

So really this is an extension of Artist Trading Cards, except the edition run is larger than you would normally do for an ATC edition.

But before business cards were invented, everyday people used Calling Cards sometimes called Visiting Cards.

In the Victorian era, well-to-do ladies and gentlemen would have special cards made to leave at the homes of friends who were out when they called. The custom originated in France in the early 1800s and then quickly spread across England and America.

Calling Cards evolved their own set of etiquette rules, being carried in elegant card cases which were made of sterling silver, papier-mache or mother-of-pearl. Making social calls was a formal part of Victorian life and cards would be left on the elegant trays in the hallways of homes, to be presented to the occupant. They even had a code which involved folding a corner of the card to convey a message: top right corner meant ‘congratulations’, bottom right meant ‘condolences’ and bottom left meant ‘farewell’. If the top left of the corner was folded it meant that the visitor had come in person and an unfolded card meant that they had sent a servant.

card from www.morninggloryantiques.comHundreds of thousands of Calling Cards were printed throughout the 19th century in many different styles. There was even a style of card which had a decorative piece of Victorian ‘scrap’ attached to the left side. When lifted up it revealed the card owner’s name or a hidden message.

How cool would it be to have your own personal Calling Cards? I mean really personal ones, not just cards from a template in some printing kiosk. Always handy to give someone when they need your phone number (if you’re not someone who has business cards) or to leave a short message for someone who’s out when you call on them. Why not make a few of your own? You can make them using hand scrapping techniques or digital scrapbooking techniques.

And here’s another cool idea, make a Virtual Calling Card to leave as your signature in on-line guestbooks or as your forum signature in scrapbooking forums. Annie’s Calling Cards has a range of free card templates for you to choose from if you don’t want to make your own. All you need to do is add your name and details with your photo editing software.

What do you think?

Other Related Posts:

Artist Trading Cards
Scrapbooking Techniques and Tips – Love your Layers
Cardmaking on the Run


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One Response to Victorian Calling Cards – the first ATCs?

  1. christina January 2, 2010 at 6:09 am #

    Hi, I am desperately looking for victorian card toppers for valentine cards. I am having a hard time finding some, a CD of a variety would be fabulous but if I have to purchase some loose cut ones that would be ok too. Do you know where I can locate some? I’ve been on the web for hours with not much luck. Thanks, Christina