A few years back I did a post on dance cards, those handy little erasable tablets of bone or ivory carried by ladies at balls to keep track of the partners to whom they’d promised dances. I’ve collected them for years, and recently acquired two that I thought would interest you...except they aren’t exactly dance cards.
At some point later in the 19th century as printing became less expensive, it became the thing to print dance card programs for dances and balls, both private and public. They listed the occasion, location, and dances to be played over the course of the evening, along with a space to fill in partners' names. It was no longer necessary to remember to bring your cute little silver and ivory dance card, and at the end of the evening you had a nice souvenir of the event. Ah, progress.
But you still had to hold onto the thing somehow while you were dancing...and that’s where these come in—dance card holders:
The one on the left, made of brass, consists of a clip that could slip over a lady’s belt or waistband, suspended from which is a ferociously sturdy toothed clip. No dance program had a chance to slip out of this one!
The holder on the right is altogether more delicate, made of silver filigree. It has a ring (from the size of it, meant to be worn on one’s pinky finger) and a clip which gripped the dance program and was held in place by a sliding ring: Not quite as much fun as the old dance cards, but one must move with the times!