Business Card Collection
Business cards originated from cards that European aristocracy once distributed to announce their imminent arrival at a location. This same system was later adopted by the middle class as “visiting cards,” cards left at a home when the occupant was not there to receive them or as a way of asking permission to visit in the first place. Beginning in the 19th century, trade cards started to appear as a way to promote one’s services, either before or after work had been performed by the card’s issuer. The modern business card evolved from these trade cards and, before long, no serious business person would be found without them whenever the possibility of meeting new clients arose. Despite the arrival of the Information Age, physical business cards remain an essential part of networking, an easy way to disseminate contact information to potential clients and employers.
This collection includes a variety of business cards from Long Island, N.Y. The cards were produced by a wide range of industries, companies, and individuals between the 1940s and 1990s and represent the changing trends in business card design and the information deemed essential they contain.