by David Cardillo, DDNP Staff, Blog Contributor
In the same way Halloween parties were a popular social event at the end of October, Christmas dances and Christmas balls were popular throughout December in late 19th century Delaware. The Middletown Transcript of December 30, 1893 describes a ball held at the Middletown Opera House, where 125 dancers attended. The article further describes the dresses worn by attendees down to the material of the dresses worn by the women. The event had live music performed by the Albert’s Orchestra of Wilmington.
The December 30, 1900 edition of The Sun also mentions two holiday social dance events. One was in Newark at Caskey Hall, and the other was a masquerade ball in Odd Fellow’s Hall in Hockessin. Both events are described as being well-attended.
Other references to seasonal dances include the first grand annual ball of the Fame Active Association at Webster’s Dancing Academy in the December 22, 1876 edition of The Morning Herald, which continued until at least 1890 when it was mentioned in the January 1, 1891 edition of the Delaware Gazette and State Journal.
For more information about historic Delaware Christmas traditions and celebrations, search Chronicling America: