Balls were the premier social events in Britain and the United States in the Victorian era. Dance cards were used by women to record the names of the gentlemen with whom they intended to dance each successive dance. Dance cards appear to have originated in the 18th century, but their use became widespread in 19th century Vienna at the same time that the waltz became popular.

An actual dance card is typically a booklet with a decorative cover, listing dance titles (waltz, quadrille, polka) in order of the program with a space for a man to pencil in his name to claim the dance with the young woman. Typically, the name of the sponsoring organization would be printed on the cover and there would be a decorative cord by which the card could be tied to a lady’s wrist or ball gown. Sometimes a pencil was also attached.

This dance card measures 5 7/8” x 4 ¼”. It portrays a bucolic cottage scene surrounded by embossed pansies and decorative swirls on its heavy card stock front cover. The card is from the 10th annual Farmington Hook and Ladder Co. No. 1 concert and ball held at the opera House in Farmington, New Hampshire on Friday Evening January 27, 1899. Before and after the concert program and order of dances are twenty-five delightful pages of illustrated local advertising. What a wonderful piece of primary source ephemera showing a snapshot of Farmington NH business, social life and culture in 1899.

The card was well used and its owner was certainly very popular with partners signing up for most of her dances. A little pencil calculating was done on the inside front cover. The original pencil cord is still attached to the card but the pencil is missing. The card has a crease, some light smudges and wear on the back cover and some age toning to the edges to the pages. Please examine the pictures and feel free to email me if you have any questions.

While you are here, do take a look at the other dance cards I have for sale at this time. Thank you for visiting my shop today.


Forget Me Not Antiques

1899 Dance Card for Concert & Ball Farmington NH--Hooke & Ladder Co. #1


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    Sentimental memorabilia, books, sewing treasures and dolls of the 19th and early 20th centuries
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    Susan Voake
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    Norwich , VT This Shop is rated Gold - 100 or more sales Gold Ruby Lane Exclusive since 2020