Vintage Dance Cards of the 19th Century
The dance card was a courtly tradition in which women had preassigned dance partners for each dance at the event. The tradition was convenient and inclusive. No wall-flowers allowed at these events. When you consider today’s jr. high dances (and even some weaker high school ones) in the auditorium or cafeteria with boys swaying nervously on one side staring at the girl’s busily chatting away on the other, the dance card is a far more social, viable alternative.
The dance cards featured above come in all different shapes and had multiple purposes. Some had hard cases which allowed for more ornamentation and durability for reuse; one featured above has a clock attached. Others double as fans - which makes sense considering the increase in temperature when people really got moving. The shoe-shaped card is the most creative, although the others, especially the one featuring mother of pearl, are stunning.
All are from the 19th century with the earliest dating to 1850 (the peacock cover). They represent beautiful visions of the past and remind us of a time when leaving a woman standing alone was not considered “good taste”.
ARE YOU THINKING WHAT I’M THINKING?
shocker: It’s about Derek Hale and his empty dance card and how Stiles, newly back from the continent, plucks it out of his hand and writes in his name for the first waltz
Even when Derek tells him he must not have heard the news, having returned so recently from his travels: that the Hale fortune is gone, its holdings—reduced.
"Is that so," Stiles murmurs, and lazily scrawls himself in for every subsequent waltz.
Derek dances with him, but admonishes him stiffly that he is not marriageable for a—a—noble of his standing (the Hales are—were—new money from some grungy county some distance from London and Stiles’ father was a much decorated war hero, his mother a blueblood) and Stiles laughs, and brushes his lips over the tips of Derek’s fingers (gloved, of course) and says it’s kind of Derek to take such an interest in his prospects.
"I didn’t—I don’t," Derek says, biting the inside of his cheek at how rudely it comes out. He’s been accompanying Cora to balls for weeks now, both of them hoping she may yet make a match, but he’s been roundly ignored, too old to be of any interest now that there’s no money, and his betrothal to Kate Argent broken off under suspicious circumstances. He can only think that Stiles is making fun of him, has a bet on the books at some gentleman’s club to make a fool of Derek.
LATER STILES BRINGS HIM A RASPBERRY ICE AND LENDS HIM HIS COACH WHEN CORA SPRAINS HER ANKLE DANCING.
This needs to become a fic.