For many years and still today, people hand out their business cards when in a social or business environment. However, it was quite common for decades that people had a simple ‘visiting card’ with just their name on it. It announced a person’s arrival at a home or business. it was considered proper etiquette to have a visiting card. That concept of the small paper card presented turned into the business card with more details about the person and especially their occupation and contact information. These two types are a wonderful addition to your family tree. Ask other family members and friends of the family if they have any visiting cards or business cards.
Other types of cards which to add to the ephemera collection would be club membership cards. There would also be military identification cards. After 1938 people in the United States also had social security cards. A driver’s license makes a wonderful card of an ancestor to have, filled with information on address, description and dates. Also a voter registration card or cards where they have lived over the years.
Some industries or jobs required the employees to have identification cards. This was especially true when a person worked in a defense plant (Rosie the Riveter) during World War II. Draft cards (related to military service) for young men in the United States were used in 1917-1918 and again in the early 1940s during World War II.
At high school and college graduations it was the practice for the graduate student to have cards printed with their name done in fancy script and placed in the announcement card of graduation, a type of keepsake.
Any and all of these types of cards should be kept as part of the family heritage. Check with other family members to see what they have. Request scanned copies of any. Anther place to find such cards would be the local hometown museums. This is especially true for individuals who were well-known in the community.
Photos: Yacht Club Membership 1926, Aircraft Warning Service 1940s, High School graduation card in 1960s, and business card.
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