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February 22: ON THIS DAY in 1916, Colonial dance celebrates Washington’s birthday

February 22, 2019 Brooklyn Daily Eagle

ON THIS DAY IN 1842, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “The birthday of [George] Washington is to be celebrated in true Temperance style today, in this and the adjacent cities. A grand military ball takes place at the Bowery, where tableau vivants illustrative of prominent incidents in the hero’s career will be displayed, and where the lovers of the dance will doubtless assemble. But the most interesting feature will be the great supper, or tea and cold water party at the Centre Market Hall. Three thousand tickets to this fete have already been disposed of, and yesterday were in demand at a premium. For once, we trust, this great era in the history of our country will be appropriately appreciated.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1861, the Eagle reported, “Philadelphia, Feb. 22 — The celebration of Washington’s birthday began at daylight by salutes being fired off in different parts of the city … The ceremony of raising the flag of 34 stars over the Hall of Independence this morning, by Mr. Lincoln, was attended with all the solemnity due such an occasion, the scene being an impressive one. At the rising of the sun, crowds of people streamed from all parts of the city towards the State House, and very soon every inch of ground was occupied, a vast number of ladies being present. The weather was cool and bracing. At 7 o’clock, Mr. Lincoln was escorted to the Hall, and there received by [Rev.] Theodore Cuyler, who warmly welcomed him to its venerable walls in the hour of national peril and distress, when the great work achieved by the wisdom and patriotism of our fathers seemed threatened with instant ruin.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1882, the Eagle reported, “Among the anniversaries which are being more generally observed in this country with every year of the nation’s life is that which closes the stores and offices today in commemoration of the typical American patriot who was first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen. The birthday of George Washington is in any aspect one may choose an event to be celebrated, and that it should be regarded with constantly increasing interest is entirely meet and right … Washington’s birthday is not yet so general a holiday as it ought to be, but before many years have passed it will be as fully observed as the Fourth of July or Christmas.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1916, the Eagle reported, “The Colonial dance of the Entre Nous Club, held last night in the clubhouse, 489 Bedford Avenue, in celebration of Washington’s birthday, was one of the artistic and social successes of the season in the Eastern District. It was a costume dance, the young women appearing in gowns designed on the lines of the garb of Colonial belles. The decorations of the club were in harmony with the general scheme. The evening began with a reception, following which there was a promenade concert by a string orchestra. After the grand march, the dancing was begun and many of the younger set had their first taste of the cotillions and square dances of the old Revolutionary days. The effect was remarkable and was generally conceded to be one of the most strikingly original dances of the year.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1932, the Eagle reported, “Washington, Feb. 22 (AP) — Standing before the Congress of the United States, President [Herbert] Hoover marked today the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth by pronouncing him the chief contributor to the nation’s greatness. ‘The true eulogy of Washington,’ he said, ‘is this mighty nation.’ The chief executive’s words — delivered before a joint session of the Senate and House — initiated formally the bicentennial celebration of the first president’s birth, which will extend over the next nine months … ‘From the room where I conduct my high office, I hourly see the monument which Washington’s proud and grateful countrymen have raised to his memory. It stands foursquare to the world, its base rooted in the solid substance of American soil.’”

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