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Did They Do The Harlem Shake? Tales from a 19th Century Washington Dance

The Sidewalk Dance - Handpainted Oil Painting by John George Brown (1894)
Step back in time to the 19th century Washington dance scene! Read this article to find out how people danced, find out who was there, and the all-important question: did they do the Harlem Shake? Learn the answer and more here!
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Articles like this really illustrate how different and quaint life was in 19th century Washington. This is from the Washington Post, published on January 10th, 1894.

The young gentlemen of the pretty suburb of Brookland gave the opening event of the Brookand Assembly Club in the town hall last night. It was a remarkably well managed affair and reflected credit on its projectors. Others will follow at intervals of two weeks. Ma ny people were out from Washington, the Eckington line running two electric cars for their accommodation after the dance was over. The hall was handsomely decorated with flags and the stage was filled with palms and potted plants.

The assembly was managed by Mr. Philip W. Jullien and was chaperoned by Mrs. Dr. Brooks and Mrs. Carrie T. Julien. Lusby’s Ochestra furnished the music.

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Mrs. R. J. Stauf chaperoned a party out from Washington composed of Miss Mamie Blakely of Philadelphia, Miss Minnie Lynch of Chicago, Miss Ellen Gleason of Washington, and Messrs. W. A. Smith, W. Hardy, and W. Mahoney of Washington. Refreshments were served during the evening and dancing was kept up until after 12 o’clock.

What do you think … was the punch spiked? (And, did they do the Harlem Shake?)

The Sidewalk Dance - Handpainted Oil Painting by John George Brown (1894)
The Sidewalk Dance – Handpainted Oil Painting by John George Brown (1894)

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