These fantastic introduction cards were used in the United States during the 1870s and 1880s. According to Alan Mays, who collects them, they were “used by the less formal male in approaches to the less formal female.” We think of nineteenth-century courtship as being impossibly straight-laced and buttoned-down, and certainly a printed card inquiring for permission to accompany a young miss to her door is consistent with that, but the eager men found plenty of ways to work clever jokes and insinuations into their calling cards.
My favorite one is from the fella who claims to live on “Hugtite Lane” in “Squeezemburg.”
You can find out more about this cheeky tradition in The Encyclopedia of Ephemera by Maurice Rickards.
For more of these great cards, go to Mays’ exhaustive Flickr collection.
And finally, this related but distinct genre of cards, apparently used by people of both genders, with a blunt and unmistakable introduction:
via Messy Nessy Chic