December 15, 2009
A recent donation to the collection, this dance card came with a large gift of DeMolay material from Paul D. Fisher of Shillington, Pennsylvania. It is a dance card used at a dance that was held by the Reading Chapter, Order of DeMolay in 1931. It has a leather cover, with a pencil hanging down from it on red string to match the red dye of the leather. Why the pencil, you might ask?
Formal dances of the late 19th and early 20th centuries required that women write in a dance card the name of each man that she was going to dance, next to the name of the particular dance listed in the program. Looking inside the program we can see that this dance card belonged to a woman who had reserved a dance with "Luke" and another, a waltz, with "Dad Cassel." "Dad Cassel" was no doubt Carl L. Cassel, who was on the Advisory Council for the Reading Chapter, Order of DeMolay. He was called a "Dad Advisor" and must have been a Master Mason supervising the DeMolays in their organization and at their dance.
The emblem for DeMolay is embossed in gold in the lower right hand corner of the cover of the dance card. The knight imagery in the emblem alludes to Jacques DeMolay (ca. 1244-1314), the last Grand Master of the historical Knights Templar, who is the namesake of the Order of DeMolay, today known as DeMolay International.
The is 1931 dance card was made at the C. F. Heller Bindery in Reading, Pennsylvania. This bindery also made World War II wallets which held food ration identification information.
Dance Card, Reading Chapter, Order of DeMolay, Pennsylvania, 1931. Van Gorden-Williams Library and Archives, National Heritage Museum. Gift of Paul D. Fisher, A2009/77/1.