Chapter: Hopes and Dreams

Dance Card with pencil attached

"#9, Foxtrot, Mr. Smith"
1909 Dominion City Dance Card Dance Card with pencil


“Number nine, foxtrot, Mr. Smith” sounds like a code, doesn’t it? But it’s actually something much better, much nicer and genteel.

In the days before the internet the best way to socialize, and maybe meet that “special someone”, was to attend the local dance. A woman's dance card, like the one shown here from a ball held in Dominion City on January 8th, 1909, was an important tool.

At the dance young gentlemen would approach a young lady asking them if they might have a dance with them. If the young lady accepted the offer she’d check inside her dance card, where all of the evening’s dances would be listed, to see when she’d be available and then she’d pencil in the young gentleman.

“I’ve got you down for the 9th dance, a foxtrot, Mr. Smith,” the young lady might say.

This method meant that the young lady couldn’t mistakenly say “yes” to two partners for the same dance, an embarrassing faux pas. It also meant that she could choose whether she wanted to write the gentleman’s name beside a waltz, a two-step, or a foxtrot.