Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Show and Tell Again

As I’ve done in past posts, I have a couple of new additions to my dance card/aide memoire collection that I had to share with you, because they’re such delightful confections…

Aren’t they?

The silver one on the left is a dainty two and a half inches long, with the chain and ring for wearing adding another six inches. The ring and chain indicate that this was intended to be a dance card and not just a note pad. There is a tubular holder for a pencil, now missing, and six thin leaves made of what looks like bone.

And the filigree! I’m not sure if it’s sterling or not—there does seem to be a tiny hallmark on one edge—but the intricate looping is marvelous.
The one on the right is four inches long and made of bone or ivory with silver edging (also hallmarked) all around on both covers and elaborate silver ornamentation with room for a monogram.

This one still has its tiny pencil for writing on the six bone leaves, which are held together by a silk ribbon woven through them. A delightful confection to carry to a ball…but what is even more delightful is the pencil inscription it still contains.
Reading across the leaves, from the leftmost leaf to right, it says
14th August 1897
Wishing you many many
returns of the day

So some lucky young woman received this as a birthday present exactly 126 years ago yesterday. This inspires so many thoughts—who was she? Had she just made her entrance into society? Was it a gift from a family member, or a suitor? Did she treasure it so much that she refused to erase the message (there are signs that the other sides of the pages have been used and erased)?
What do you think?

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