Visiting Cards – Yesterday and Today

All visiting cards are engraved on white unglazed bristol board, which may be of medium thickness or thin, as one fancies.
Etiquette absolutely demands that one leave a card within a few days after taking a first meal in a lady’s house; or if one has for the first time been invited to lunch or dine with strangers, it is inexcusably rude not to leave a card upon them, whether one accepted the invitation or not.
– Emily Post (1872 or 1873 to1960). Etiquette. 1922 –

antique Copp's Fine LinenThese were my grandmother’s visiting cards. Emily Post would have approved.

Fast forward eighty years or so, and internet visitors can leave Visiting Cards too. These ‘cards’ are computer generated graphics and they are generally called Avatars or Gravatars (Globally Recognized Avatar). You don’t have to be a blogger to have a Gravatar. Anyone can associate one to the email address they use when they leave comments on blogs.

Many people use their photograph for their Gravatar. There are good reasons to do this, particularly if you want to build a brand based on your persona. I sometimes chose to use a graphic rather than a photo. I thought this image captured me, but in an exaggerated way – the grey hair is too curly and I would certainly never sit in my comfy chair with a whole box of chocolates at my fingertips. I keep the box in the closet, and I get out of my chair and go get each and every chocolate, one at a time. (This would be a wonderful way to burn calories if the closet was several miles up the road.)

I also encourage all women to abandon hair dye and “Go Grey, Girl!”  (Just think of all the chocolates you can buy with the money you save.)

I’ve seen a few photos of Emily Post, but I can’t determine if she ever let her hair go grey. In her day, was it as appropriate for women to go grey as it was for men? Was grey hair a sign of maturity and stability for both sexes? Why isn’t it that way now?

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37 thoughts on “Visiting Cards – Yesterday and Today

  1. The Bible says a gray head is a sign of wisdom. So, there you go. As for me, my wife makes me dye my hair. As I have said many times, she is much younger than I. All joy in whatever hair color you choose. I even like the purple people! HF

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  2. Reaching old age was more rare “back in the day,” so older people were more revered. Also, they carried valuable knowledge for younger generations since the pace of new knowledge was slower, so what older people knew was still relevant to younger generations. That’s why old age (and it’s markers like gray hair) was honored. (I used to teach the Sociology of Aging). 😉

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  3. Those old cards really were quite fantastic. I have a digital collection of early greetings cards, christmas, halloween, easter, thanksgiving etc. and they are so ornate. Talking of gravatars, mine is the only picture I have of me as a young boy.

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  4. I love visiting cards. I still pass them out (business cards that have only my name and phone listed). People look at them like I’m weird because I’m not selling anything. I hadn’t thought of avatars or gravatars as calling cards. That’s something to ponder. Very interesting post.

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    • I admire your restraint in having only your name and phone listed. If I made up a card, it would start out simple, then it would get a border, then a little photo and then I’d make it a bit bigger and eventually it would be a postcard….

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  5. Hi,
    I love the cards, a bit formal now, but still a very nice personal touch which I think is missed these days.
    I’m leaving my hair with it’s natural grey streaks, some women look really nice I think with grey hair, I’m hoping it is going to suit me as well. 😀

    You are so right about the Gravatars, they are like a calling card, I see the little photo and you know instantly who it is, they are a brilliant idea.

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  6. I love your gravatar, it says a lot interesting and fun things about you with just a glance, but can’t help but be drawn to your grandmother’s cards. They don’t reveal quite as much about her at first glance, but even now they a fulfilling their purpose by bringing her to mind when you see them. Fun post!

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  7. I might have to investigate gravatars but I’m not going to join you in the grey hair. If my hair was a nice grey I would consider it. However, mouse brown with a lot of grey is not pretty!

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    • Ev – you must remember when my hair was mouse brown!? You should try growing it out now and then to see where you are at. You might like the freedom from the dye bottle.

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  8. Love this post Margie! And Yep, I finally quit the search for youth and went grey. It’s nice to agree with nature at last – and I love the comment about grey being the new rainbow! As for knowledge of value, bet I could still teach some young whippersnappers a few things… 🙂

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  9. What about grey with a pink streak? That’s what I’d like. Wisdom with a streak of nonsense. And what restraint you show keeping your chocolates in the closet. Mine are right by me at the laptop, next to my sewing machine, on my shelf of office supplies and in the car console -close enough to keep my driving safe when I reach for them.

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    • Grey with a pink streak – I’m thinking that would be nice, as would purple or orange or red. Seasonal flair.
      I’ve chosen, instead, to let my hair grow much longer, and wear outrageously large clips – just the kind of hair style that everyone says women my age shouldn’t wear.

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    • I would really like it if WordPress kept track of who leaves their calling cards in the ‘like’ section of our blogs. I would like to see a list of ‘like’ calling cards on my dashboard.

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  10. Any illustrator worth his sea salt would approve your gravatar– it’s excellent! It captures your mischievous side better than a photo– tho I can definitely see mischief peeking thru in your photo as well… : )

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  11. The day I retired I went to my hairdresser, had my hair colored my “natural” color (grey) much to my hairdresser’s horror and “let it go” with no worries about ingrowing roots. I have been au naturale for almost 10 years now ~ I found it freeing, not to mention easy to maintain!

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  12. I like your avatar, Margie. It’s very clever. Not being as clever, I have to use my picture. I don’t know why men with grey hair are considered mature or distinguished while women with grey hair are not given the same honor. Very unfair. That being said, I have yet to color my hair and don’t intend to. Once you start, I hear it’s very hard to stop.

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