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Visiting cards or calling cards were used (and are still used) by the wealthy social elite to announce their arrival at the home of another member of the wealthy social elite. Cards might also be used by some less wealthy pretenders who wanted to project an aura of being socially elite. You would present your card to the house servant who answered the door, or even better, have your foot servant present your card to the house servant. An elaborate system of etiquette was developed to govern the use of these cards and to indicate acceptance or rejection of your attempt to visit. Often it was necessary to make an initial visit to deliver your card prior to making a second visit in which you would actually be presented to the person with whom you wanted to socialize. One functional purpose the cards served was to accurately identify the prospective visitor, so that one was not relying upon the servant to verbally pass along one's name.

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Q: What was the purpose of visiting cards?
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