The last dance card I posted having been well received, here's another one from my collection. This one is from a benefit ball held in Las Vegas on April 24, 1894, with music by the East Las Vegas Military Band "Assisted by "Prof. J.A. Hand's Full Orchestra."
The card is badly stained, but the lovely cover image of a putto playing a guitar to a group of birds is still charming. The cord for the pencil is still attached, though discolored. The edges are pinked. The card has not been used, though one dance ("Comus Waltz") has been crossed out and "Waltz" written in, presumably after a last-minute program change. The ball committee -- all men -- is listed on the back cover.
(click to enlarge the images)
The dances are a typical Victorian mix: a Grand March that appears to segue into a quadrille, followed by a mix of couple dances and set dances. There are five waltzes, three schottisches, a polka and a "Danish Polka," a Newport and a Berlin, no fewer than three plain Lancers and a Saratoga Lancers, a waltz-quadrille, a double quadrille, and a Virginia Reel. The double quadrille might be a quadrille for sixteen or it might be one of several quadrilles with both head and side couples moving at once and (generally) fewer repeats of each figure; the term could mean either variety. The Newport is a waltz or redowa variation and the Berlin is a very early short choreography, or sequence dance, done in polka time. Also to be counted among the sequence dances is the Rye Waltz, which is of particular interest because it is labeled "Ladies' Choice," the first and so far only time I have ever seen such a notation on a ball card. I don't know exactly how that would have worked: did all the ladies choose at once when the dance was called, or did they simply ask a gentleman while mingling and conversing before the ball or during intermission?