In this paper, I want to consider the extent to which the British eighteenth-century visiting card conceptually, culturally and materially anticipates a range of contemporary technologies of propinquity. Acting as complex cultural avatars, these visiting cards conveyed the desires of class and gender in the construction of identity. Visiting cards demonstrate the rich prehistory of contemporary technologies of telepresence in terms of the imaginative, symbolic and rhetorical functions they performed. Telepresence can be defined as the degree to which geographically dispersed agents experience a sense of physical and/or psychological proximity through the use of particular communication technologies. Like many of the media forms they anticipate, visiting cards were used to stand in for the corporeal presence of their author. Visiting cards functioned as avatars of presence and identity, a complex language system which allowed the discursive agents to mediate social relations according to the varying degrees of intimacy that were desired.