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September 24, 2015

Have you heard of collectible Dance Cards?

First introduced in the early 18th Century and popular until the
mid-20th Century, dance cards were used by women to record
the names of men who requested a dance with them at a ball.


 The earliest forms of dance notations were sterling
silver pendants which contained small cards.

 Cards or booklets featured a cord which held a pencil or
pen and was worn on the wrist for easy reference.

Some ladies used a question-and-answer game that required prospective
dance partners to answer a riddle before being granted a dance.

Finding a dance card with the original pencil
or pen attached to the cord is rare.



Parisian dance booklet from 1909:
'7th Annual Festival
in the Rooms of the Porte-Doree
Saturday, February 13, 1909
275-277  Daumesnil Avenue
Full Orchestra'

This is what the Paris address looks like today.

In 1926, Betsey Dunn attended a dance in Pittsfield,
MA, and made some interesting notes:
She wrote that dance partner #5, Arnold Whitman, was
'missing a tooth' and #11, Ted Reynolds, must have been
short because he was described as a 'pip squeak.'

This flyer from the Philharmonique Society of Paris was sent with
the invitation so that attendees could plan their strategy for the ball: 

An unusual dance card in the shape of a shoe from a ball
given by the Twilight Social Club on August 14, 1874:

In place of a dance card a Victorian lady might have used a fan with
slots in which to write their partners' names beside a specific dance,
i.e., waltz, polka, quadrille, etc.


Estate sales are good venues for finding mid-20th Century dance cards.
But to find a treasure like the Civil War-era dance card fan pictured
above, you'll probably have to work through an antique dealer.

Antique dance cards are definitely Romantic Collectibles.
Happy Hunting!


  1. Those are so cool!! I've never seen one close up and in person. I do use the phrase " my dance card is full" quite often!

  2. Beautiful. I really envy the grace and elegance of our past. Today - we're nuts.

  3. Your dance cards are fantastic...I don't think I had ever seen them before like this. A great share, Mary