Vineland Celebrates 150 Years: It’s a Civil War Ball!

We put the date on our calendar almost two years ago!  How quickly the months passed and tonight was the night – a splendid Civil War Ball complete with dancing and elegant refreshments and beautiful period attire ball gowns on all the ladies!

For my gown,  I spliced my taffeta skirt with the bodice of a formal dress from my costume collection, and created my headpiece from a vintage headband, plumage, and rhinestones.  Wearing the ensemble over my smaller hoop skirt (easier to navigate on a dance floor), I was happy to break in my new dancing slippers I’d ordered special for the occasion from the Victorian Trading Company.

Ed had been growing out a stylish handlebar mustache and goatee as he wanted to appear the Southern Country Gentleman.  I think he achieved his goal

Upon entering, our photo was captured as a souvenir . . .

Photo by T&F Camera, Vineland, NJ

Our program/dance card explained all the proper etiquette for the evening:

“During the period surrounding the Civil War, dancing was a social event which meant socializing with everyone in the room, unlike modern dancing today which centers on a single couple.  Balls were looked forward to with great excitement.  People were expected to dance with multiple partners throughout the evening.  It was considered rude and inappropriate to dance more than two or three dances with the same partner, even if you were engaged or married to that partner.  Gentlemen were expected to ensure the ladies had an enjoyable evening.  White gloves were worn by all men to minimize soiling gowns.  Of course, no woman would offer an ungloved hand to a gentleman.”

So – to the dance floor we ventured, led by a team of Dance Mistresses and Masters from the Tri State Victorian Dancers, with live period music provided by the Wild Mountain Time Band.

Couples gathered on the floor for the opening Grand March as three sets of dances ensued.  Each dance was explained and rehearsed before we were let loose swinging partners and do-si-do-ing all about.  For lots of great photos (my camera just couldn’t capture the fun justly) by our local newspaper photographer, Cody Glenn, click HERE.

During the two intermissions (and if one chose to sit out a dance) elegant refreshments were set out including a menu of scones, pastries . . .

Cucumber tea sandwiches . . .

Salmon mousse, and my favorite . . . pumpkin pudding!!!

Ed and I enjoyed about every other dance – allowing some of the more energetic numbers to be left to those hardier youths.

It was so nice to see so many young people attending.  Young and old, though, attended dressing in the spirit of the occasion – circa 1861.  Here I am posing with a Civil War re-enactor friend of mine, Miss Viola, who, you will note, does not look into the camera, nor does she smile, but remains solemn when photographed in period attire – ever in character.  I, however, always forget that part.

The event was sponsored by The Friends of Historic Vineland, a number of our board members (Ed and I included) posing here in all our finery.

I admit, I did not have a hand in organizing this grand affair – so much more that I could really just enjoy the event!  So, off to the dance floor we’d go – our favorite dance pictured here is the Patty Cake Polka.  Great fun!

A final waltz closed the evening, and this much anticipated event was now a part of our Vineland history – with plans to do it again next year, too!

Many thanks to Merighi’s Savoy Inn and the Blue Ribbon Committee for all their hard work in making such a memorable evening for all!

About Miss Kathy

"I teach families how to restore their God-given authority as the primary educator in their child’s life through the experience of reading together as a family. Learn how to use literature to create teachable moments, build strong minds, and bind loving hearts."

Kathryn Ross, writer, speaker, and dramatist, ignites a love of literature and learning to equip young and old towards developing a Family Literacy Lifestyle—reading together, learning together, loving together. Her works challenge families to deepen their literacy skills and grow into the greater things God has purposed for them. She’s taught in Christian and homeschool circles, trained in the Principle Approach® through the Foundation for American Christian Education. Miss Kathy owns Pageant Wagon Publishing, producing homeschool enrichment materials, devotional works, study guides, and theatrical dramas for church, school, and community production. She podcasts at and blogs at


  1. Oh, what an enjoyable post, Kathryn! Thanks for sharing the joy, customs, photos and details with us. You look beautiful in your teal gown. And you are quite crafty to have made your headpiece. It looks like such fun. I’ve heard that the reason people did not smile when being photographed is that the film speed could not accomodate moving faces, and that if one smiled there was a good chance the image would be blurred. My goodness, photos from this event would make a wonderful mini album…love the candid still life of your program and gloves.

    Thank you for visiting my blog~

  2. How absolutely gorgeous! What a super memory for all of you. WOW! Seemed like such a nice time, I bet you hated for it to end. What’s next?!!!

  3. Kathryn, you look fabulous! Totally! You and your husband make a perfect civil war couple. Your photo is wonderful! I would have loved attending this ball too : )

  4. Miss Kathy,

    Wow! How terrific is that? Back to the days of the Civil War.

    The guys are such troopers and you look so beautiful.

    Looks as though you all had so much fun and exercise to boot!

    Lots of smiles there I see.



  5. Oh, what fun it must be to dress up like that and step back in time! I love your dress! Looks like a lot of fun!
    Thanks for visiting my blog and your comment 🙂
    Have a good week!

  6. I have to say this looks like so much fun! And you look very nice!

  7. Oh my! You look so lovely and and your gown is too! Your husband looks like such charming gentleman (and so much fun!)! My two girls and I lived vicariously through you as we looked at the pictures! Thank you for posting them and letting us all see! What fun, what fun!!

  8. How wonderful!!
    You and your beloved husband look fabulous, Kathy!!
    What an elegant affair.
    The photos are really great and your costumes are beautiful!
    Sounds like a lovely evening to me 🙂

  9. I’ve never been to a ball before…Oh my! What delightful fun!!! You and your husband look GRAND! I do like the handle bar mustache – he looks the part. And your gown is wonderful – headpiece and all…It certainly looks like everyone had so much fun! And I must say your smile is so much more pleasant than the real life sober, grouchy looks everyone had in those days.

    I also like your Pink Ladies poem…


  10. Kathy,
    How fun to dress in period costumes and dance the evening away! You both look wonderful. Your dress and headpiece look so authentic (and pretty) and hubby’s handlebar moustache is perfect! So glad you had such a great time.


  11. Oh, this was so wonderful! You and Ed look great! It looks like you’re having so much fun! What a fantastic event, and nice to hear all ages were there! You are so lucky to go to such interesting historical reinactments! This ball looks like such a good time!

  12. I’ve been away for a while and am just getting caught up. I LOVE THIS!! Oh my goodness, I would just love for our town to do something like this. You and your handsome husband look wonderful. I loved that he even grew the mustache and goatee. Just perfect. Your dress was lovely, too!

    Seriously, two thumbs up.

  13. Oh, the 2 of you look fabulous!! We have a Victorian ball coming up October 8th. I still have no real period attire and the girls gowns are not Victorian. But we will go and we will dance!

    Blessings, Debbie

  14. Oh, what fun! You and Ed are just the picture perfect pair. So authentic, and such a handsome couple! My husband and I enjoy dressing up in Old West clothes and going to western festivals and events. There’s just something about “adult Halloween” that appeals to us, too!

    One comment – looks like “Abe” is kinda hogging the cucumber sandwiches. I wonder if we asked him how many he’d eaten whether he’d be “Honest Abe” or not?? Hmmm…


  15. Miss Kathy, I just love looking at the ball photos. How very charming and what a smashing couple your two make! I love your ball gown. I do believe you have the most fun ever my dear! It is a delight to follow your blog.
    Lady Linda

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