The "tasselled dancecards" that Stephen's
mother has kept were staples of formal nineteenth century
dances. Women carried small (approximately 2” x 4”) booklets
with numbered lines corresponding to each piece of music. Men
asked for the privilege of a given dance, and their names or
initials were entered on the corresponding line.
In the second image displayed here all the names are female, probably because no men were present at this dance at Simmons College, an American women's college.