It's been quite some time since I discussed a dance card or program. The image at left is not from an actual card, but rather an advance publication of a program of dances taken from a local newspaper. The event was a Firemen's Ball, to be held in Wichita, Kansas, on Thursday, December 17th, 1903. A short article and this program were published in the Wichita Daily Eagle on the previous Sunday, December 13th.
Firemen's balls were rather common, presumably serving as fundraisers, but they seem not to have been that popular in Wichita; the accompanying article noted that this would be the second such ball held by the department in twelve years, which does not exactly demonstrate a mania for dancing. It seems to have been expected to be successful, however. Although the "fireboys" had not had much time to sell tickets, since they were on duty night and day except for meal breaks, they had still managed to sell between three and four hundred.
The location of the ball was not specified, but the article did note that that the hall would be "handsomely decorated with palms and cut flowers by a committee appointed for that purpose", that Bamberger's orchestra (C. O. Alton, director) had been engaged, and that Professor Hartman would officiate as floor master. The grand march would be led by Chief Walden and Mrs. Walden, and "the fireboys will no doubt prove as efficient in the dancing area as they are in the department work."
The program, shown in a scan from microfilm at left above (click to enlarge; sorry about the poor quality), is interesting to me mostly because it includes no fewer than four five-steps, meaning five-step schottisches. That's quite a lot of five-step for a program with only twenty-two dances!
The remainder of the program is about what I would expect. Wichita dancers appear to have retained a taste for more of the nineteenth-century repertoire rather than succumbing to a diet consisting exclusively of waltz and two-step. So along with five waltzes and six two-steps, there are four quadrilles, a Newport, a Varsouvienne, and the aforementioned grand march. The Newport and Varsouvienne are holdovers from the nineteenth-century couple dance repertoire.
The quadrilles consist of a Lancers, a plain quadrille, a Prairie Queen, and a Two-Step Lancers. The plain quadrille might have been the First Set (French Quadrille), or it might have been some combination of figures called by Professor Hartman. Prairie Queen quadrilles pop up in many sources near the turn of the century, but I've not yet taken the time to collect and analyze them to see whether there was a single set of figures. The Two-Step Lancers might have been the National Two-Step Lancers published by, e.g., A. C. Wirth in his Complete Quadrille Call Book and Dancing Master (St. Louis, 1902). Wirth billed that one as "The latest society Quadrille which has taken the dancers by storm throughout the United States. Easy. Dignified. Refined. [Copyrighted.]" I used the figures from Wirth at a ball way back in the early 2000s as part of a series of annual "Centennial Balls" with early twentieth century programs, so it's nice to see some evidence that it actually had some popularity in its own era!
I'm always delighted when a program includes the music titles and composers as well. Some pieces, like the waltz from Faust, are easily identifiable. A few notes on some of the other listed pieces:
I suspect the quadrille music given as "Life Your Feet" is actually "Lift Your Feet".
One of the five-steps, Bicknell's "I Ain't Got No Use For Sleep", is a minstrel song; the music is online at the Charles Templeton Sheet Music Collection at Mississippi State University.
The cover art for Richmond Hoyt's "Princess Pocohantas" may be seen online at Lehigh University's Pocahontas archive.
The Prairie Queen quadrille music is listed as "Mixed Pickles" by "Bamberber"; might that be a typo for their bandleader Bamberger? I've seen at least two different sets of Prairie Queen quadrilles sheet music.
"In Old Alabama" is listed as a Two-Step by Cruger, but there's also a "barn dance" (schottische) by the same name by Frankel Meyer, which may be seen here. Two-stepping to schottische music, under the labels galop or valse à deux temps, has been an acknowledged possibility since the mid-nineteenth century. But "In Old Alabama" is a generic enough title that there might simply be another tune of the same name.
Similarly, there is sheet music for a "One of the Finest" in waltz time, which would work for a Newport, even though that is more of a redowa/mazurka variation, but it's by Williams, not Yobani(?).
Tracing all of the sheet music would be an interesting project if one wanted recreate this particular ball.