Monday, February 17, 2014

Antique and vintage dance cards

Dance cards became popular items at balls and assemblies during the early 19th century. They were created as a way for a lady to keep track of the gentleman to whom she had promised dances in the course of the evening, and afterwards served as a momento of the occasion.

Dance cards were generally made of paper or card, although sometimes had elaborate covers of bone, ivory, silver or wood, and were small enough to be readily portable. They were generally given only to ladies.Often a small pencil was attached by a cord to the card. The cord also allowed the card to be suspended from a lady's wrist or belt.

The front cover of the dance card would generally include such information as the occasion for the event, the location, the date, sometimes the price of the ticket, and often the name of the band that would be playing that evening. Covers became increasingly elaborate in their designs towards the
end of the 19th century, when the lithographic process became popular.

The interior of the dance card usually contained a list of the evening's dances, with spaces provided for the names of the gentlemen to whom the lady had promised them. Sometimes the dances were listed by the name of the dance itself, such as the waltz, whilst at other times the name of the musical selection was given.
These lists can therefore give us some insight into the style of dances and musical tastes that were particularly favoured at given periods.

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