Story: Love and romance

Dunedin Citizens' Ball, 1898

Dunedin Citizens' Ball, 1898

This programme for the Dunedin Citizens' Ball, held in the Garrison Hall, included a decorative pencil to record bookings for particular dances. Many of the dances were sets, usually involving four couples. This made the dances occasions for socialising with a number of people, not just a particular partner.

Dance cards were produced for every formal dance in the late 1800s, listing all the dances during the evening. Men would ask women to dance and they would record their 'engagements' for the evening. Unmarried dancers interested in finding a spouse sometimes hoped that requests to dance might lead to different sorts of engagements.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: Eph-A-BALL-1898-01-inside

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Rosemary Du Plessis, 'Love and romance - Dances, love and courtship, 1840 to 1950', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 25 June 2022)

Story by Rosemary Du Plessis, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 1 May 2017