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Slide #1

 

I've always been fascinated by Victorian calling cards or visiting cards, a pre-voice mail technology for paying social attentions without necessarily seeing or talking to the recipient. In the century leading up to the invention of the telephone, Europeans and Americans in the servant-employing classes followed elaborate rules about who would visit whom, when, where, and for how long. Calling cards were important tools in these social exchanges. Ladies carried them in special boxes, which I seem to have started collecting. Partly that's because I'm fascinated by the etiquette of communication, including calling cards, answering machines, and email rituals. But I also love calling cards cases as objects. They can be wonderful little wallet-sized examples of the silver engraver's art. Also, calling cards are obscure enough and useless enough nowadays that I sometimes find examples I can afford, and they don't take up much space.


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