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May 14, 2018


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This is actually a quite typical card (and program) for a late-C19 Ball. However, the concurrent Oyster Supper is interesting because it occurred simultaneously with the dancing, rather than just as refreshment at intermission.
Oysters (typically, oyster stew) were thought of as among the best refreshments at dances, since they 'don't fill you up,' but were satisfying. They thus were perfect for a "collation" (light meal).
I've seen a number of invitations/programs for conflated "Oyster Supper" and social dance events. It appears that many people expected an "Oyster Supper" to include social dancing. Balls and other social dance events, however, had a variety of refreshment offerings, that sometimes consisted of an Oyster Supper.
If you'd like to chat about C19 dance events, please let me know. I own hundreds of cards and invitations, and photocopies of many more (primarily C19 New England).
I'm especially looking for dance ephemera that name Abram Pushee (d.1868) as musician or prompter.

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