While the exact origins of cartes de visites are unknown, it is a fact that they did not come into extensive use until their introduction by Frenchman Andre-Adolphe-Eugene Disderi in 1854. These tiny portraits were left by visiting friends, inspiring the name carte de visite (French for "visiting card").
During the early years (1854-1857), the "carte" was popular on a limited basis throughout Europe. By 1858 it had spread to America, and by 1860 photographers around the world were producing more cartes de visite than any other type of photograph.
Introduced 1854 Peak Years 1859-1866 Waned 1870 Last Made 1905
This brief history of the Carte de Visite was taken in part from the Collector's Guide to Early Photographs by O. Henry Mace.