Civil War Ball

The Governor David Tod Civil War Ball

An evening of delightful, easy to learn, period dancing
at the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center

Saturday November 1, 2014
6:00 -10:00 p.m.

Special Guests:  Mr. & Mrs. David Tod
(direct descendants of Governor Tod)
portraying Governor & Mrs. Tod


Dance Master
Carol Kopp

Dance Historian
Patricia Gutwein

Music Provided By
Magic Feet

Grand March of Regiments and Civilians

Period dress encouraged, but not required
(no metal heel plates, tacks, or nails on shoes)

All dances taught, no experience needed, no partner needed
Light refreshments served

$20 per person – $10 for ages 13-18
Free adjacent parking

For Reservations:
Janey Moy LaMonica



The image is from the November 21, 1863 edition of Harper’s Weekly.  The illustration is by Winslow Homer, and is captioned, “The Great Russian Ball at the Academy of Music, November 6, 1863.

The Great Russian Ball 
November 6, 1863

To honor the Russian forces that arrived in November of 1963, a grand ball was held at the Academy of Music in New York.  Harper’s Weekly chronicled the details of the event from the dancing to the food, all the way down to the grandeur of the ladies toilets.  The following is a piece from Harper’s Weekly about the ball:

THE Ball is over, the music is hushed, the dances ended, the wine drunk, the costly laces and diamonds put back into their places. And now that the sounds of the revel are dying out it recurs to us that we have a headache, and we are saying wisely to each other that the ball was not, after all, so very sensible a thing; and that, when our brothers and our sons are dying on battle-fields, and thousands of brave Union soldiers, prisoners at Richmond, are being starved to death by the Southern chivalry, it is hardly decent for us here to be dancing, and making merry, and throwing away fortunes on diamonds. There is something in the idea. Should this number of Harper’s Weekly fall into the hands of some poor wounded fellow at Chattanooga, or some half-starved Union prisoner at Richmond, the contrast between his own condition and that of the scented and perfumed dancers who figure in the ball picture may not improve his temper. “They are fiddling while I am dying,” is the remark which would not unnaturally occur to him, and it would leave a bitter taste behind.”What then?” says Shoddy. “Are we all to put on sackcloth and ashes for the war? Are Mrs. and the Misses Shoddy not to have an opportunity of displaying their beauty—to say nothing of the splendid dresses and the magnificent diamonds which I bought them with the proceeds of paper-money—simply because we are engaged in a war? The notion is monstrous! I pay for the war: taxes on my income, taxes on my clothing, taxes on my house, horses, carriages, silver, and every thing that I’ve got; I send my blood relations to the war to fight and die; I give money for bounties and money to the Sanitary Commission; I vote to support the Government. Having done all this, I submit that my duty is fulfilled, and that I may, if I choose, get up balls for Mrs. and the Misses Shoddy, and that they may enjoy them as becomes their age, their means, and their spirits. Dancing and balls are not bad things by any means. It is good that young people should enjoy themselves while they can. They will all find sorrow enough in life by-and-by. Besides, our Russian Ball had a political significance, and may render good aid to the Union cause.”Thus much Shoddy. And though his reasoning is likely to seem very shallow and very selfish to the brave suffering men on Belle Isle or in Castle Thunder, it must fairly be admitted that, in past time, balls and battles have often jostled each other, and the dying sounds of the dance have often mingled with the blast of the bugle. “There was a sound of revelry by night” within a few hours of the battle of Waterloo, and the dance was never more popular in Europe than during the Napoleonic wars. The Preacher gives the key to the apparent paradox when he says, “Let us eat, drink, and be merry; for to-morrow we die.”And now—good Shoddy, fair Mrs. Shoddy, and sweet daughters of the Shoddy house—that you have had your dance, and flirted with your Cossack, and flashed your diamonds in a thousand envious eyes; now that you have spent—so they say—over a million of dollars for one night’s enjoyment; have you time and do you care to think of a suggestion by which your pleasure and our suffering heroes’ needs may both be satisfied?”


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