What is a Dental Dispensary (as seen in Isabella’s Calico Groom)? Compared to true-to-history dispensaries for medical care and eye troubles, this component of medical care to meet the needs of the poor was a real thing in the 19th century United States.
Beyond the obvious beneficiaries of the Calico Ball craze (mid- to late-nineteenth century United States)– the needy who received the once-worn dresses (or suits of clothes), who else benefited?
I suggest a short list of Hidden Beneficiaries. Who else can you identify?
A “Calico Ball”? Whoever heard of such a thing? Is it different than a debutante ball? A sock hop? A Leap-Year Ball? A Christmas Day Ball?
I’m impressed with the purpose behind a “calico ball”… especially because of where the fad began, and why.
19th Century Ladies Fashions included gigantic sleeves known by many names: Leg of Mutton, Marquise, Balloon, etc. Highly fashionable, women wore them to work at home, to “walk out”, to sit for photographs, and on their wedding days. Highly fashionable for a period of time in the 1890s (through the turn of the century), they’ve returned at least twice: mid 1980s and in 2016. A favorite? You decide.
Flirting, during the American Victorian era, was often deemed in poor taste (and a sign of low-breeding). Men and women in large cities found a way around the censure–they flirted in the personals column of newspapers. Examples illustrate the personals used requesting an introduction (or interview), private and secretive communications, and to find a lady to begin a courtship. Mother (and/or chaperones) may not have approved…but what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.