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Thursday, January 03, 2013

Lilliputian Postal History

 

A visiting (or calling) card is a small paper card with one's name printed on it, and sometimes a design.

In the 19th and early 20th century, these cards became an indispensable part of  the aristocracy’s etiquette for arranging visits. Sophisticated rules governed their use.

The essential protocol was that a prospective visitor would not expect to visit another person in that person’s home uninvited without first sending or leaving a visiting card for that person at their home.  The sender would then await receipt of  a card at their own home in response. This would serve as a signal that a personal visit  would  be welcome. On the other hand, if no card was forthcoming,  a personal visit was thereby discouraged.  At least that’s my rough understanding of visiting card customs.

Here are three of the smallest I’ve acquired.  Two are franked at the six-centime rate for a visiting card with not more than five words in manuscript sent in an unsealed envelope; the other, from 1918, is franked at the four-centime rate then in effect:

Small
(98 mm x 38 mm)


008aaa

008aa


Luxembourg-Ville,
31 December 1924

Smaller
(90 mm x 52 mm)

002a

002b


Luxembourg-Ville, 6 August 1918,
to Rodange

Smallest? 
(83 mm x 39 mm)

007


Luxembourg-Ville,
1 January 1923
 

 

For the postal historian, visiting cards provide an opportunity to collect the small envelopes in which these cards were often sent. And, if you’re lucky, the card will still be in the envelope!  See the examples below.

*     *     *

Visiting Cards Received by Philippe (Rev. Philip) A. Schritz,
Missionary to the United States
from Gostingen, Luxembourg

013

001 

Dippach,
3 January 1906

5c UPU visiting card rate
overpaid

 

002b

 

002a 

Echternach,
29 December 1906

5c UPU visiting card rate

 


014

 

003
004


Wiltz ,
17 Jan 1907,

Custar, Ohio, USA,

26 Jan 1907

5c UPU visiting card rate 

 

005aa

006

 

005a


Luxembourg-Gare Hollerich,
3 January 1907

5c UPU visiting card rate
overpaid

 

007b

 

007a

008

Luxembourg-Gare Hollerich,
? January 1908,
Custar, Ohio, USA
13 January 1908

5c UPU visiting card rate

 

 

001b

 

001a

002 

Luxembourg-Gare Hollerich,
23 December 1908,
Custar, Ohio, USA 
7 January 1909

5c UPU visiting card rate

 

 

009a

Echternach,
13 January 1914,
to Toledo, Ohio, USA

5c UPU visiting card rate

[card missing]

 

 010
011a

 

010a

Esch-sur-Alzette,
7 January 1924,
to Fort Jennings, Ohio, USA

10c UPU visiting card rate
paid at the 50c letter rate

 

Father Philip Schritz was born on April 4, 1870, in the little village of Gostingen, Luxembourg, in the Grevenmacher canton.  He studied at the Royal Atheneum in Luxembourg, after which he was invited to become a missionary in America.

In 1890 he emigrated to the United States, arriving on the SS Westernland on August 9, 1890, at the Port of New York.  Later that year, he  entered St. Mary’s Theological Seminary in Cleveland, Ohio, studying for the full term of five and one-half years.  He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest on December 14, 1895, after which he served various parishes in the Ohio area. 

He died on March 27, 1942, in Gibsonburg, Ohio.  But he lives on through the postal history he left with us.

 

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