Thursday, November 11, 2021

Etiquette at Gilded Age Receptions and Balls

Ladies and gentlemen both wore gloves on the dance floor; flesh never touched flesh. Kid gloves were supposed to fit so tightly that the outline of the fingernails was visible; they lasted for only one wearing. Fans were essential for more than flirtation, as crowded ballrooms often got very hot. 
– From “To Marry an English Lord”, Photo source, Pinterest

The most brilliant private reception of the season was given last night. The great party consisted of the youth, beauty, tone, and culture of Omaha. The Musical Union Orchestra furnished the music, and the light-toed graces skipped by the hour in easy curves over the smooth floor. 

Wit sparkled in the twinkling eyes of purity, and young men who had “gathered polish” if not as much “moss” as their masculine elders, were favored by pre-emption early in the evening, and cultivated until the separating time. To the more advanced in years, though scarcely less attractive ladies, the men of heavier build attended with many expressions of proper etiquette, suavely given. 

All were in full dress, and a diamond here and there from a starched bosom or dainty ear struck into the onlooking eyes its electric rays in sparkling offset to the animated groups of harmony and beauty. The supper was all that dainty or hearty man or maid might wish to hold appetite against, and to it and to entertaining talk, the hostess and guests gave attention with Omaha gusto. – Omaha Herald, 1887

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

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