During George Washington's presidency, the First Family lived in the urban centers of New York and Philadelphia where they encountered the practice of leaving "calling cards" when visiting friends and acquaintances. The number of cards Martha Washington likely needed to fulfill her duties probably necessitated her investment in this engraved copper plate, which could replicate her fabricated signature in large quantities. The plate was later inherited by her granddaughter, Martha Parke Custis Peter, of Tudor Place, who engraved the back to print her own calling cards in the early-nineteenth century.


Rectangular sheet of copper with rounded edges and corners; engraved on both sides, the text is horizontally centered on each, the front reads: "notgnihsaW srM" and the obverse: "ecalP roduT / fo / reteP srM".


c. 1789-1854





Overall: 2 1/8 in. x 3 1/8 in. (5.41 cm x 7.95 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph G. Newman, 1984


Engraving horizontally centered on the obverse of the plate: "notgnihsaW srM".

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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