The Road to Romance Is Rarely Smooth
Posted On: Thursday, February 14, 2013 04:52 AM, by Theta Archives
Dance card from
Pearl Chase, Omega/Berkeley, 1910
“Wesley Smith … My First dance: Was but with three men before I finally succeeded in getting one to take me. Lost my sash while dancing, Also lost my fan, my programme, and my handkerchief.“ so notes either Berniece Hall Glass or Marjorie Hall Montgomery, both Gamma/Butler, next to a 1911 dance card. The less-than-great start to the dance and party scene did not detour either sister as the 1909-1916 scrapbook in the archives is filled with dance cards (and comments about their dates). Throughout the Kappa Alpha Theta archives are dance cards representing balls, cotillions, winter formals, sophomore hops, and pledge dances. Dance cards allowed women to keep track with whom one was going to dance during the course of an evening. These little booklets, usually with a nice cover, often had a cord to hang on one’s wrist. The sponsoring group, date, and location were noted on the front page, and often the chaperones on the back page. For more formal events, even the type of the dance would be listed – two-step, waltz, later on one-steps, hesitations, and fox trots. While the simple ones are interesting, it is the creative ones that attract my attention. The cards often reflected the theme of the party or the organization sponsoring the dance. The one pictured on the left is from a scrapbook of Pearl Chase, Omega/UC Berkeley, 1910, where each blade of the fan notes two dances. Other unique dance cards in the collection include one shaped like the facility at Beta/Indiana or a series of small records with each dance noted and filed in little record sleeves. Reviewing the menus and the dances gives us a glimpse of the past and even potential romances. By the end of the Glass sisters’ scrapbook, the cards did note numerous dances with an Elbert Hall and a Walter Montgomery, both whom later married the sisters. The romantic in me often wonders as I come across these dance cards in the collection if one of the names listed eventually became that husband and if they had met for the first time at that dance. What about you? The dance card has faded away from use, but the mementos of dances past and all those potential romances still live on in archives. Happy Valentines Day!