May I have this dance?

October 3, 2018


Dance Card
Manufacturer: Daily Star Print 
Date: 1876

Dances, or hops, were very popular leisure activities in the Victorian era. They were especially common in Cape May during the summer months. Congress Hall and the Stockton Hotel held dances almost weekly during July and August in the late 19th century. The Stockton Hotel even hired Simon Hassler, a conductor from Philadelphia, and his band to regularly play for the dances.


As with anything in the Victorian era, there was an etiquette for a dance. Ladies could not attend without an escort, but their father or brother would suffice. A gentleman would approach a lady and ask her to dance. He would then sign his name for the agreed upon dance on the lady’s dance card. The “Order of Dancing” listed on this dance card at the Stockton Hotel included a waltz, a galop and a quadrille (which is a type of square dance).


Dances were not only for adults, but children and youth had their own, as well. An article in the October 29, 1908 edition of the Cape May Herald advertises a Halloween dance for young people in town.


Look for the dance card in Mrs. Ralston’s Bedroom