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[Detail] Cover of "How to Dance," 1878


Collection Overview

An American Ballroom Companion: Dance Instruction Manuals, ca. 1490-1920 presents a collection of over two hundred social-dance manuals at the Library of Congress. Along with dance instruction manuals, the collection includes a significant number of antidance manuals, histories, treatises on etiquette, and items from other conceptual categories. Many of the manuals also provide historical information on theatrical dance. Together, these artifacts illuminate the manner in which people have joyfully expressed themselves as they danced for and with one another.

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Special Features

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Historical Eras

These historical era(s) are best represented in the collection although they may not be all-encompassing.

  • Colonial Settlement, 1492-1763
  • The American Revolution, 1763-1783
  • The New Nation, 1780-1815
  • Expansion and Reform, 1801-1861
  • The Civil War and Reconstruction, 1850-1877
  • Development of the Industrial United States, 1876-1915
  • Emergence of Modern America, 1890-1930

Related Collections and Exhibits

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Other Resources

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