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Dance Cards

An exploration into the first appearance and popularity of dance cards

Would you be surprised to learn, or did you already know, that dance cards were not a thing in England during the Georgian Era (and yes, that includes the Regency)?

We often see these in historical romance novels, but they were simply not a thing…yet. That was not to say they were not popular elsewhere, just not in England.

They first appeared in central Europe during the 18th century, so if our hero or heroine was travelling, they might have encountered these at a formal ball. They were not popular, however, until the 19th century in Vienna. So popular, their appearance spread throughout the century until reaching England in the 1830s.

It’s during the Victorian Era when we’ll see the cards in England’s ballrooms and our heroines avidly jotting down names or offering apologies for a full dance card.

The cards were a must-have feature throughout the early 20th century, even making it across the pond to America, so it’s likely, depending on your background, that your greats kept a stash of dance cards in their souvenir trunks. It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that they fell out of favour.

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