A 19th Century Ladies’ Man

Frolics, hops, germans, socials, midwinters, proms, balls…dances have a long history as a crucial part of social life at Carolina. Today’s UNC Dance Marathon shows how much this activity has evolved since the days of the dance card:

Dance card front

This is an 1885 dance card from our UNC ephemera collection. The name written on the front, presumably the gentlemen who originally used the card, is H.W. Jackson. The other penciled notations on the front read: “My first ball,” and “I carried out Miss Daisy Deason.” I’ll leave it to you, dear readers, to interpret that latter notation for yourselves.

Mr. Jackson appears to have been a very popular guy, since he listed not one, but two ladies for many of the dances inside the card:

Dance card inside

Herbert Worth JacksonCurious about this suave fellow, I consulted several resources here at the North Carolina Collection, including the Biographical Index, Powell’s Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, and Ashe’s Biographical History of North Carolina, and found that our gentlemen was Herbert Worth Jackson (1865-1936). Herb was the first basemen and captain of the varsity baseball team during his time at UNC, and later went on to become a banker, civic leader, and UNC Trustee. He eventually married Annie Hyman Philips, whose name, incidentally, does not appear on his dance card.

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