The Acquisitions Table: Calico Dress Ball!

Calico Dress Ball! There Will be a Social Dance at Lyceum Hall, West Acton. Boston: Searle Printing, 1870.

This large (42” x 28 ½”) broadside was one of a group of five sheets purchased together, all of which relate to activities in Acton and West Acton, Massachusetts, between 1865 and 1875. Printed in Boston by F.A. Searle, who was well-known for his circus posters, all of the broadsides make excellent use of large, eye-catching wooden type and brightly colored paper. Given the thin paper and temporal nature of the events advertised (dances, fund-raising levees, and church festivals), it is amazing that these five printed sheets survived. This broadside advertises a dance in mid-February, which may have been held in honor of Valentine’s Day, a popular occasion for community social events.

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