Friday, June 1, 2018

Calico Ball Invitations: Printed on Calico? by Kristin Holt

by USA Today Bestselling Author Kristin Holt

A Calico Ball? Is (was) that even a thing?

I’ve had way too much fun looking into the 19th century “new thing” of calico balls. What a delight! Especially since our brand new release: CALICO BALL: Timeless Western Collection, Book 1 has three 100-page novellas, each with a Calico Ball in the 19th Century American West.

 See CALICO BALL on Amazon--Preorder Available!

I’m beyond honored to be paired with the incomparable Carla Kelly and SarahM. Eden, both whom I enjoy reading. I can’t wait to get my  hands on a copy of this collection, to read the novellas by these two ladies! (Naturally, I already know what mine is about.)

In all my research, I came across true-to-history invitations to various Calico Balls, some of which were printed on calico fabric. Some were on normal cardstock. I even found an issue of a newspaper, reporting on a calico ball, that had been printed on calico cloth.

Check these out:

First, a normal invite on cardstock:

Grand Calico Ball to benefit Deseret Hospital. Held February 14, 1883. [Source]

Now, one on calico!

Leap Year Calico Dress and Necktie Surprise Party! Held March 25, 1868. [Source]

Here’s the newspaper:

Akron Daily Argus Calico Ball Edition, printed upon calico, as a souvenir of the Calico Ball, held the day before. Following the economic Panic of 1873, plus a five year depression (farm foreclosures, business failings, wage cuts...) then the winter of 1874-1875 was so difficult... this event was given to raise funds to provide food and coal for the poor. Some of the area's MOST ELIGIBLE BACHELORS served as "floor managers". What fun! [Source]

Here are MORE on calico!

Grand Calico Ball invitation, printed upon calico. Held in 1886. [Source]
Calico Dress Ball invite, printed on Calico. Held Dec 25, 1873. [Source]

I loved the idea of invites ON calico so much, I simply had to work that element into my novella. I hope you’ll consider preordering this title (if you’re a kindle reader), or watch for it on your favorite digital book store. I’ll post links for everywhere this book is available, once it’s live. You’ll find those links, and everything else about this collection, on my website.

BTW, I’m writing many more blog articles about various elements of Victorian life as it forms the backdrop to my novella in this set. These posts will come over the next few weeks (until publication date (July 10, 2018) and beyond).

Here are a couple to get you started. One is live now, and one will be live next week:

Thank you for joining me! Please, scroll down and comment. We’d love to hear your thoughts.
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Copyright © 2018 Kristin Holt LC


  1. Wow, this is so clever and so interesting. I was looking at printed fabric from the era a couple of days ago so found this truly fascinating. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Hi Danni!
      Thanks for stopping by, reading, and sharing your thoughts. I'm so glad you found this information fascinating. =)

  2. I had never heard of calico balls before. This was so interesting! Thanks Kristin.

    1. Hi Pam!
      Thanks for stopping by and taking a look. When I stumbled across a "Calico Ball" in a vintage newspaper, I nearly drooled... and had to delve in to see what else I could find. What fun!
      Thank you!

  3. What a fun concept for a series. I had heard the phrase, but had never seen the actual product. Thanks Doris

    1. Thanks, Doris! With your wealth of 19th century knowledge, I'm not surprised you'd come across mention of a Calico Ball. Thanks for commenting! It's always good to see you here.
      ~ Kristin