Shall We Dance? - Maine, 19th century
This article, written by the Maine Memory Network Curator and Historian for the Maine Historical Society, takes two mid-19th books as a focal point for looking at etiquette and social status as reflected on the dance floor. H.G.O. Washburn's 1863 Ball-Room Manual of Contra Dances and Social Cotillions with Remarks on Quadrilles and Spanish Dance explains rules of etiquette. Bangor dancing master John Martin was secretary of the "Model Assembly," and compiled a detailed handbook (Dancing Fraternity, City of Bangor, 1868) with information about the members, including the "computed worth" of each. The author concludes, "Dancing, then, could prove one's acceptance in social circles—if not one's membership in them—but also had to be combined with traits like diligence and worldly success."