Mr Shepherd Colley’s Visiting Card: 1885

dog visiting card

Olive Logan on British Absurdities.

Just a little mention of a tiny absurdity before I append my valuable autograph. Will you believe that my Lady Frivolity and the Misses Brainless made me a morning call while I was out, and with their precious cards I found a bit of pasteboard, about an inch long and half an inch wide, which bore the name, duly engraved upon it, of “Mr. Shepherd Colley?” It was fully one minute before this delightful joke dawned upon me in all its blinding luminosity. Mr. Shepherd Colley was their Colley dog, who was accompanying them on their round of calls. Desiring not to be behind in the rigid etiquette of social life, I hied me to my stationer in order to cause to be engraved the same sort of card, with the names of my own canine family, “The Misses Poodle.” But, bless you, the modish stationer keeps that sort of thing in stock. I found ready engraved, size, one quarter inch by one half-inch, and done up in the usual visiting-card packages of 100, “Miss Minnie Black and Tan,” “Mr. Suttle Pug,” “Mrs. Willoughby Pug,” “Mr. Frank Fox Terrier,” and “many others,” as the ball lists say. London Letter in Philadelphia Times.

The Weekly Wisconsin [Milwaukee, WI] 12 August 1885: p. 3

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: The notion of wee visiting cards for dogs (and that such absurdities should be aided and abetted by respectable stationers) seems to Mrs Daffodil—if one will pardon the expression—barking.  But it has ever been thus with those who love their dogs more than they might any putative children and who lavish all manner of fashionable toys on the canine Smart Set, as this bulletin from Paris notes:

The leading Paris dog’s tailor, for there are famous specialists also in that line here, has just issued his winter novelties circular which shows the canine fashion has undergone some modification. A chic tailor-made mantle replaces last year’s seal skin coat. The new mantle is specially designed to protect the dog’s chest, when accompanying his mistress in her auto. The bow-wow’s handkerchief is now carried in a little purse attached to the leash. The lady experts who specialty is canine hairdressing have decreed that the Parisienne’s pampered pets must now use the same perfume as their mistresses.

The jewelry most in demand for aristocratic dogs this winter will be gold bracelets ornamented with diamond attached to the front legs. Footwear for dogs has been condemned as it makes the dear little paws look too large. Winston-Salem [NC] Journal 9 October 1908: p. 5

Canine card cases were also introduced:

Visiting cards for dogs are announced by one of the largest stationery concerns in America. These can be supplied in any style desired, it being important, however, that they express in some measure the dog’s personality. A variety of card cases can be obtained. Cigarette cases, we believe, are later to be added to the equipment, small ivory ones for the delicate, scented smokes and larger, more masculine cases of gold for the other kind of dog. The Punta Gorda [FL] Herald 29 July 1920: p. 2

Members of the Pet Set will find many other posts under the “Animals” subject heading, such as the “dog’s barber,” dogs to match ladies’ gowns, and dogs as golf caddies.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.




3 thoughts on “Mr Shepherd Colley’s Visiting Card: 1885

    1. chriswoodyard Post author

      Perhaps not in the modern sense of that euphemism. In this lax, post-War world, we are too apt to use “calling card” in a figurative sense since etiquette no longer demands a round of calls; only a round of “texts.” A Mr Colley who left that sort of calling card would find that the hostess was no longer at home to him the next time he came to call.
      With Best Wishes,
      Mrs Daffodil


  1. Pingback: Dandy Dogs: 1896 | Mrs Daffodil Digresses

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