In the immediate neighborhood, first calls among
social equals are due from the oldest resident. This
rule does not extend to the different grand divisions
of the city, nor even to remote districts in the same
After a residence of some years, the distinction of
oldest or newest resident is lost, and either party may
make the first call at pleasure, or as occasion may
Lovers of literature, music, or art, may at pleasure,
or on any occasion, call on any other of like taste
without regard to local divisions, and without cere-
mony, to form a personal acquaintance, or invite to a
social affair to gratify the common taste. In such
cases the parties are presumed to be known to each
other by social reputation, and a reasonable discre-
tion will avoid any serious mistake. Not to respond
in some way to such an invitation, would be regarded
as an affront, and afterwards the person invited must
make a return call, or the acquaintance will termi-
The first call is due to the families of the clergy,
and to all high officials, including the mayor, judges,
First calls should be returned as early as practica-
ble. Thirty days is very ample time for this import-
In case illness, excessive occupation, or other just
cause renders it impossible or very difficult to return
a call in person within the proper time, a card or note
of friendship and regret may be sent by post or mes-
senger. This will continue the acquaintance until a
call in person can be made, or an invitation to a re-
ception or other entertainment given.
The usual for calling are from two to five
P. M. An evening visit by a lady implies some degree
of social acquaintance, and should never be made as a
first call, except under special circumstances. From
seven to nine in the evening are the usual hours for
gentlemen to call; and there is nothing more delight-
ful in society than calls by husbands and wives, or
brothers and sisters together, during the evening hours, on their acquaintances and friends.
Plain engraved cards are always in good taste. In
making visits, always send in or leave your card.
At receptions the usher takes your card. At other
times, if the person called upon is not at home, you
turn down the right hand upper corner of the card,
to indicate that you came in person. If the visit is
intended for the various members of a family, you
either give several cards, or leave one with the entire
right end folded over. The choice is immaterial.
On leaving the city altogether, do not omit to send
a card upon which P. P. C. is written, on one of the
Gentlemen may commence calling at nine o’clock
in the morning, and will leave cards where the ladies
may not be ready to receive them at so early an hour.
At or before ten o’clock, the ladies should be in
their parlors ready to receive callers.
Calling may continue until ten o’clock in the even-
ing, but not later.
First calls are due to the clergy and their families,
and they may receive calls on New Year’s day, or
make them at their pleasure.
Wines are not expected, and when on the table, are
rarely offered to guests. Liquors are prohibited.
Coffee is the standard beverage of the day. In gen-
eral, tables will be supplied with substantial food,
and gentlemen will partake at their usual hours.
Calls are expected from friends, and gentlemen will
not take the liberty of introducing strangers, except
under special circumstances, which seem to warrant
such a liberty. A gentleman calling with friends may
introduce them, but this, as a rule, is a mere formality,
and gives no privileges unless followed by a subse-
quent invitation to the house.
First calls, especially neglected ones, may be made
on New Year’s day; and if friendly relations have
been disturbed, either party may offer to resume them
by making a New Year’s call.
Should ill health, absence, number of calls to be
made, or other cause prevent making any intended
calls on New Year’s day, they may be made at any
time during the month; or if that is not practicable,
cards may be sent by messenger or by mail, as it is
scarcely possible for any gentleman of large acquaint-
ance to make calls fully in all parts of a large city
like St. Louis, on the same day.
In cards a large liberty is allowed. A written or
engraved visiting card may be used, or a card with
the date and New Year’s compliments. An auto-
graph card is considered most complimentary.
To avoid confusion of names, and to assist the mem-
ory, gentlemen are expected to leave cards at all places
where they may call. It is considered more complimentary to leave a card for each lady, who receives
To some extent, callers have been requested to
write their signatures in an autograph album pro-
vided for the occasion, but this practice has not yet
been fully established.