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 usually 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 unused 1872 dance card is particularly beautiful, made from the same embossed and gilded glossy paper lace used in valentines of this period. Its unusual fan shape makes it especially collectible. The card is 3 ¾” wide at the top and 5 ¼” tall. Inside is a single card listing the dances. The original blue cord is attached but there is no pencil.
The card is from the Lawrence Masonic Association Dedication Ball held on September 12, 1872 in Lawrence, MA. The ball opened with a promenade and Sicilian. Among the other dances were quadrilles, a Lady Washington’s Reel, a lancier, a polka, and a Caledonian.The evening ended with a Portland Fancy.
The card is in very good condition except for a break in the bottom of the paper lace of the back cover. That cover is now no longer attached to the rest of the card. Please examine the photos and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
While you are here, do enjoy the other dance cards I have available for sale at this time. Thank you for visiting my shop today.
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