My Card Is Full: The Evolution of the Farewell Ball Dance Cards

By Hayes Smith
February 2012

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My Card Is Full: The Evolution of the Farewell Ball Dance Cards

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 In 1923, the Academy went back to the leather cover for the Farewell Ball dance card. The cover is Navy blue with a gold tooled insignia, with inside pockets (11 x 8.5 cm). The recto pocket had a clear cut out to hold a photograph. For decoration, there are pictures that are whimsical in nature with tissue paper to protect the pictures from transfer. The dances are filled out in immaculately print black pen with flags drawn and colored next to last names.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 The Farewell Ball dance card from 1925 has a silver cardstock cover with a picture of the Naval Academy Chapel dome in different shades of blue. Measuring 9.5 x 6.5 cm, the card contains the order of dances and a “meet under” space, but there is no room to record memories or a committee list like in the 1921, 1922, and 1923 cards. The card is filled out in pen with a shaky hand and the flags are drawn and colored next to the names. On the inside cover recto is a hand drawn cartoon of a midshipman.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 There is a gap until 1942, when the collection resumes with the Farewell Ball, June 18th 1942. It has a white leather cover with stamping and gold accents, measuring 10 x 7.5 cm. The inside is printed in blue and it can be attached to a woman’s wrist by the yellow cord. The card contains a title page and committee list, names the orchestra, and announces that Mrs. John R. Beardall is receiving. The order of dances is filled out in two different shades of blue pen and each name is written in a different style of hand. This indicates another use for the dance card. A woman can hand her card to whoever asks her to dance and have him write in his name. This is very useful, especially if the woman has forgotten his name and can look on the card for a reminder.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 Like the 1942 card, the Farewell Ball, June 5th 1945 card was printed with blue ink and has a yellow cord. The 10 x 7.5 cm card has a dark blue faux leather cover with stamping and gold accents. The inside lists who was receiving, the hostesses, committee members and the orchestra. The dances, which are not filled out, are numbered, but there is no information as to what dance or what song each number will be. This shows the diminishing importance of the dances on the dance card.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 Similarly, the Farewell Ball, May 31st 1956 dance card only lists numbers for the dances. This 10 x 7.5 cm card has an off-white cardstock cover with blue ink and an off-white cord. Inside, it lists the title page, orchestra, the woman receiving and the hostesses. It also lists the committee list for both the Farewell Ball and for the other hops held throughout the year. It ends with a quote, “Three cheers for/ those who are about/ to leave us—/ Three cheers for/ those we leave behind/ us—” This quote becomes a standard addition to each following card.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 The card from the Farewell Ball, June 2nd 1959 is much the same as the 1956 card. The 10 x 7.5 cm card has a gold cardstock cover with blue wording and a silhouette of a dancing couple. The cord is also blue. The card lists the orchestra, the woman receiving, the hostesses and the program of dances—numbers only, no types of dances or names of songs. Two of the dances are filled out and the others were left blank. After the dances the card lists the Farewell Ball committee and the Hop committee, which organizes the smaller dances throughout the year. It concludes with the Three Cheers quote found in the 1956 card.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 The cards from the Farewell Balls in 1964, 1965 and 1966 have almost identical contents, with different covers. The 1964 card is 10.5 x 7.5 cm with a white cardstock cover with blue ink and gold embossing and a blue cord. The 1965 card is 11.5 x 9 cm. It has a light blue cover with black embossing and a dark blue cord. The 1966 card measures 11.5 x 9 cm with a light blue cardstock cover with navy blue ink and a navy blue cord. All the cards contain a title page and list the orchestra, woman receiving, officer representative, social director and hostesses. None of the cards are filled out and they are stapled at the fold.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 With each consecutive card, the changes are minimal. The 1967 and 1968 Farewell Ball dance cards are exactly the same, with a different date. They are both 11.5 x 9 cm and their covers are light blue with black ink and a blue cord. Neither card is filled out.

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