Literary Links

July/August 2000


Good News and Announcements

July 26-July 30, 2000--RWA 20th Annual National Conference in Washington, D.C. at the Marriott Wardman Park. Join RWA for Life, Love and the Pursuit of a Happy Ending. If you can't make the entire conference, be sure to stop in for the Literacy Autographing and meet your favorite authors on Wednesday, July 26, 1999 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. All proceeds go to literacy foundations. This event is open to the public, so tell all your friends.  For more information and registration forms, see the RWA National web site at

July 27, 2000--The Chicago-North Chapter of RWA will announce the winners of their second annual Fire & Ice contest at the RWA National conference this evening. Stay tuned to the Chicago-North web site to find out who wins! Click Here!

July 30, 2000--Join the Golden Network Chapter of RWA as they announce the winners of their Golden Contract Contest. The event will take place at 9:00 a.m., in the Delaware A room. At that time, the Golden Network will also be awarding its newly-published authors their Alumni status certificates. Come help them celebrate!

Michelle Hoppe, Literary Liaisons president, is pleased to announce that she placed third in Inland Valley RWA's Put Your Best Hook Forward Contest with her manuscript, BETRAYALS. 

New On Literary Liaisons

There are many new additions to Literary Liaisons. After reading about them below, check them out on the web site.


100 Things Every Writer Needs to Know by Scott Edelstein

Building Better Plots by Robert Kernen

The English Stage: A History of Drama and Performance by J.L. Styan

Everyday Life During the Civil War by Michael J. Varhola

Facts in a Flash: A Research Guide for Writers by Ellen Metter

Names Through the Ages by Teresa Norman

The Visual History of Costume Accessories by Valerie Cumming

Featured Title

Facts in a Flash by Ellen Metter

RWA Chapters On-line

East Texas RWA

KYOWA Chapter

Northeast Indiana Romance Writers

Pocono/Lehigh Romance Writers

Researching the Romance

100 Things Every Writer Needs to Know by Scott Edelstein

Building Better Plots by Robert Kernen

The English Stage: A History of Drama and Performance by J.L. Styan

Everyday Life During the Civil War by Michael J. Varhola

Facts in a Flash: A Research Guide for Writers by Ellen Metter

Names Through the Ages by Teresa Norman

Nineteenth Century British Theatre edited by Kenneth Richards and Peter Thomson

The Visual History of Costume Accessories by Valerie Cumming


Writers' Resources Online


Literature of the Victorian Period

The Online Guide to Traditional Games: History and Useful Information

Queen Victoria's World

Tips for Writers

Victorian Medicine


Feature Article 

Calling Cards and the Etiquette of Paying Calls

by Michelle Hoppe


By the beginning of the 19th century, the etiquette of calling was a firmly established ritual in society, and the calling card an essential part of introductions, invitations and visits. Calling cards evolved in England as a way for people to get into the elite social circle, and for those already there to keep out the unwanted. Calling cards could keep social aspirants at a distance until they could be properly screened.

The Cards

A lady's card was larger than a gentleman's, who had to fit his in his breast pocket. Cards during the Regency era were smaller than the 9 x 6 cm of the Victorian era. A lady's card may be glazed, while her husband's was not.

The engraving was in simple type, small and without flourishes, although script became more elaborate as the century went on. A simple 'Mr.' Or 'Mrs.' before the name was sufficient, except in the case of acknowledgement of rank (Earl, Viscount, etc.). Early Victorian cards bore only a person's title and name, with the name of their house or district sometimes added. By the end of the century, the address was added to the card, and when applicable, a lady's reception day.

Visiting card cases were made of a variety of materials, including silver, ivory and papier-mache. Their lids during the 1830s often depicted views of castles, such as Warwick or Winsdor. By the 1840s, after Queen Victoria's purchase of Balmoral, Scottish views became popular. Cases during the Regency were primarily of filigree, leather and tortoiseshell. Victorians preferred ivory, tortoiseshell and woodwork. Because gold and other metals were expensive, only the wealthy could afford cases made of these substances.

Victorian cards were larger than their earlier counterparts, so only a few were carried at a time.

Rules for Calls and Leaving Cards

A lady would start making calls as soon as she arrived in Town, to notify everyone that her family had arrived. She remained in her carriage while her groom took her card and handed it in.

The card was conveyed to the mistress of the house, who would then decide whether or not to receive the caller. If the mistress was 'not at home', it was a rejection of the visitor. A reciprocal card may be given to the caller, but if not presented formally, that usually meant there was no desire to further the acquaintance. If, however, a formal call was returned with a formal call, there was hope for the relationship to grow.

Cards from visitors were placed on a silver salver in the entry hall--the more impressive names displayed on top. The trays had a pie-crust rim so the cards would not slip off. In less wealthy households, china bowls were used to hold cards.

For a first call, one was wise to simply leave the card without inquiring as to whether or not the mistress was at home. She would then take the next step.

By mid-century, a wife could leave her husband's card for him. She left her own card, plus two of her husband's--one for the mistress of the house, and one for the master. The names of grown-up daughters could be printed on her card when they accompanied her on a call as long as they were still living at home.

A turned-down corner indicated that the card had been delivered in person, rather than by a servant. Some elaborate cards had the words Visite, Felicitation, Affaires, and Adieu imprinted on the reverse side, on the corners. So whichever corner was turned up, one of those corners appeared and explained the reason for the visit.

Calls should be made only on At Home days. Days and times for these were engraved on visiting cards.

A newcomer waited until she received cards from neighbors. It was then good manners to call on those neighbors who left cards.

Formal calls were made following ceremonial events such as marriage or childbirth, and also as acknowledgement of hospitality. Calls for condolence and congratulations were made about a week after the event. If intimate, a visitor may ask for admission. If not, they inquired of the servant as to the person's well-being.

Ceremonial visits were made the day after a ball, when it sufficed to simply leave a card. Or within a day or two after a dinner party, and within a week of a small party.

Times were allocated for each type of call. 'Morning calls' were made in the afternoon. 'Ceremonial calls' were made between three and four o'clock, semi-ceremonial between four and five, and intimate calls between five and six--but never on Sunday, the day reserved for close friends and relatives.

Visits were short, lasting from twenty to thirty minutes. If another caller arrived during a visit, the first caller left within a moment or two.

A call should be returned with a call, a card with a card, within one week, or at the most, ten days.

If a family was temporarily leaving the area, they wrote P.P.C. (pour prendage conge) on their cards when they called.


Visiting Cards and Cases by Edwin Banfield, Baros Books, Wiltshire, 1989. ISBN#0948382031

What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1993 ISBN#0671793373

The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England From 1811-1901 by Kristine Hughes, Writer's Digest Books, Cincinnati, 1998. ISBN#0898798124

The Model Wife Nineteenth-Century Style by Rona Randall, The Herbert Press, London, 1989. ISBN#0906969840

Some of these books are available for purchase in our on-line bookstore in the non-fiction section.

Also see the Researching the Romance page of Literary Liaisons for more suggestions.

Editor's Note

Welcome back everyone!  We're busy gearing up for the annual Romance Writers of America conference.  Perhaps we'll run into some of you there.  Meanwhile, there's lots of changes going on at Literary Liaisons.  We've also been adding some fun things to the site and changing the look of the home page.  The biggest difference is our design services.  Because of time constraints, Literary Liaisons no longer offers web page design and hosting services.  We will still continue to bring you the best of the web, and hope that you will submit some articles for the site.  We'd like to enlarge our list of links to author's pages.  If you have an article--of any writing-related topic, of any length, previously published or not, feel free to submit it for our review.   As for additions, I've been researching the Victorian Theatre for a new project, so there are some references and web sites on that topic.  Plus, I've discovered a few new writers' resources from Writer's Digest books.  Look for Facts in a Flash by Ellen Metter in our Bookstore and Featured Title pages.  This wonderful source will help you find almost anything on any topic.  No new fiction titles this month.  I'm waiting for some of you to pass along the news that you've sold your first book!  So have fun looking around.  You may see more changes in the design over the next few months.  It's always a pleasure to help fellow writers.  

---Michelle Hoppe


FAQ Column

Q: I absolutely love Literary Liaisons.  It is one of my favorite web sites. It has helped me to make my stories I write seem more realistic and sometimes I wonder if someone from that time period I write about would say that I have captured that particular era properly. I am curious to find information on etiquette and manners on the Regency period in England.  Also I am interested in finding more phrases and words from that time period for my characters to say.  --Missy

A: Thank you for your compliments.  I am glad the site is helpful.  We have started a new series of articles in our Research section based on your request.  The first of these articles is "Calling Cards and the Etiquette of Paying Calls".  We'll keep adding to the library with articles on Gentleman's Manners, Ladys' Manners, and other etiquette-related topics.  Also, look for an article on Historical Slang to be coming soon.  Thank you for your suggestions.

Historical Calendar of Events


French Prince Imperial, son of Napoleon III

Frederick W. Taylor, American inventor

May 6--Sigmund Freud, Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis

May 6--Robert E. Peary, American explorer

June 22--H. Rider Haggard, English novelist

July 26--George Bernard Shaw, Anglo-Irish writer and dramatist

Oct. 16--Oscar Wilde, Anglo-Irish author

Dec. 28--Woodrow Wilson, future U.S. President


Feb. 17--Heinrich Heine, German Romantic poet

July 29--Robert Schumann, German composer


Queen Victoria institutes the Victoria Cross, Britian's highest military decoration.

Britain annexes Oudh, India and establishes Natal as a Crown Colony.

Persia occupies the Afghan town of  Herat in the outbreak of the Anglo-Persian War.

The Anglo-Chinese war begins as the British fleet bombards Canton.

Britain grants self-government to Tasmania.

May 21--Lawrence, Kansas is sacked by pro-slavery "border ruffians".

In a massacre at Potawatomie Creek, Kansas, Free-staters, led by abolitionist John Brown, murder five slavers in revenge for the sacking of Lawrence.  

South Carolina governor James H. Adams urges repeal of the 1807 law against trading in slaves.

James Buchanan wins the U.S. Presidential election.

Austria grants amnesty for the Hungarian rebels of 1848-9.

A peace conference in Paris recognizes the integrity of Turkey.

The Boers establish the South African Republic, with Marthinius Pretorius as its president and the town of Pretoria as its capital.

February 1--The Crimean War ends as Russia yields to an Austrian ultimatum and agrees to preliminary peace terms at Vienna.


The Arts

La Source by Jean A.D. Ingres
Sanskrit Dictionary by Theodor Goldstucker

The Rise of the Dutch Republic by U.S. historian John Lathrop Motley

A Chronological History of the United States by Boston historian Elizabeth Palmer Peabody

Nouveau Dictionnaire de la Langue Française by French lexicographer Pierre Larousse
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Die Leute von Seldwyla, a collection of short stories by Gottfried Keller

It Is Never Too Late To Mend by Charles Reade

Les Contemplations by Victor Hugo

The Panorama by John Greenleaf Whittier

A Farewell by Charles Kingsley

The Banquet at Solhaug by Ibsen


Les Dragones de Villars by Maillart premieres in Paris

Popular songs:
"Darling Nelly Gray" by Benjamin Russell Hanby

"Gentle Annie" by Stephen C. Foster


Daily Life
The Agen plum that will be the basis of a large prune industry is introduced into California’s Santa Clara Valley by French immigrant Pierre Pellier.

Chicago Unions are organized in baseball.

The first Australian interstate cricket match is held, with Victoria vs. New South Wales.

A Neanderthal skull is found in Feldhofer Cave near Dusseldorf.

U.S. playwrights get their first legal copyright protection under a new law.

Cigarettes are introduced at London clubs by Crimean War veterans who have discovered them in Russia.  They are considered to be effeminate.

Western Union is chartered by Ezra Cornell and Hiram Sibley as an amalgamation of small U.S. telegraph companies.

Harper’s Weekly begins publication at New York.

Andrew Carnegie, 20, makes his first investment at the encouragement of his new employer and buys 10 shares of Adams Express stock at $50 per share.

I. M. Singer & Co. offers a $50 allowance on old sewing machines turned in for new Singer machines—the first trade-in allowances

Marshall Field, 22, moves to Chicago to begin a career that will make him a legend among merchants.

Auburn University is founded at Auburn, Ala.

St. Lawrence University is founded at Canton, N.Y.

The Burberry raincoat, introduced by English tailor Thomas Burberry of Basingstoke, is made of water-repellent fabric rather than rubberized fabric or oilskin.

Moscow’s 80-year-old Bolshoi Theater gets a new 2,200-seat opera house that opens in Petrosky Street to replace the house that opened in 1825 but was destroyed by fire 3 years ago.



London architects enlarge the 20-year-old Buckingham Palace to give it a new south wing with a ballroom 110 feet long.

"Big Ben", a 13.5 ton bell at the British Houses of Parliament, is cast at Whitechapel Bell Foundry.

Karl Bechstein founds his piano factory.

Sir Henry Bessemer introduces a converter in his process for making steel.

Pure cocaine extract is produced from cocoa beans.

The whaling ship E. L. B. Jennings returns to New Bedford, Mass., with 2,500 barrels of sperm oil after a 4.5-year voyage.

William H. Perkin prepares the first aniline dye.

The Black Forest railroad with 40 tunnels is opened.

The first calf ever to be butchered in Japan is slaughtered for U.S. envoy Townsend Harris He also has a cow milked—the first cow’s milk ever obtained for human consumption in Japan

Borden’s condensed milk gets a cold shoulder from New York customers accustomed to watered milk doctored with chalk and molasses.

Boston exports more than 130,000 tons of "fine, clear" ice from Massachusetts lakes and ponds as 363 U.S. ships sail from various ports with a total of 146,000 tons of ice.

Mechanical ice-making is pioneered by Australian inventor James Harrison, an emigrant from Scotland.

German scientist Theodore Bilharz, identifies the worm parasite that produces kidney and liver malfunctions in the deadly snail-fever disease schistosomiasis.

German botanist Nathaniel Pringsheim observes sperm entering ova, thus advancing human understanding of the reproductive process.

The Wabash and Erie Canal opens after 24 years of construction marked by loss of life to cholera and loss of money to embezzlers.

The first railway bridge to span the Mississippi opens April 21 between Rock Island, Ill., and Davenport, Iowa.

The Illinois Central Railroad line is completed between Chicago and Cairo, Ill.

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