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The polka on 19th-century music covers
Concanen, Alfred (Lithographer)
Coindre, Victor, fl. 1838-1860 (Lithographer)
Graf, C. (Lithographer)
Maguire, H. C., fl. ca. 1850-1880 (Lithographer)
Sarony, Napoleon, 1821-1896 (Lithographer)
J.H. Bufford & Co (Lithographer)
Sarony & Major (Lithographer)

Prints depicting dance


Dates / Origin
Date Issued: 1840 - 1860 (Questionable)
Table of Contents
The Cally polka arranged by Allen Dodsworth, and taught by him at his dancing academy; New York, Firth, Hall & Pond, 1846 / Bufford & Co.'s Lith., Boston -- Cinq polkas pour le forte piano, arrangés composés et dédiés ... par Camille Schubert; London, R. Cocks, [1844] / on stone by R.P.C. -- Marriott's Jog along boys polka, as performed by his band ... ; London, [publication data trimmed off] / Alfred Concanen del. -- Mermaid polka, by H.D. Hewitt; New York, Wm. Hall & Son, 1850 / Lith. of N. Sarony -- Musidora, célèbre polka-mazurka composée pour piano par Adrien Talexy; Offenbach, Jean André, [1853?] -- Old Bob Ridley polka; London, J. Williams / Concanen & Lee -- The Parisian polka, composed ... by Carlo Minasi; London, S. Nelson / C. Graf Lith. -- Polka flamande pour le piano par Charles Voss; Paris, Brandus / Victor Coindre -- The polka quadrilles, with the proper figures, arranged for the piano forte by Stephen Glover; London, C. Jefferys, [1845?] / H.C. Maguire del. et lith. -- The polkas (Camelia, Alpenhorn, und Teufels polka), pour le piano par Ferd[inand] Beyer, Op. 51; Boston, Oliver Ditson -- Rachel polka, composed by George R. Cromwell; New York, Cook & Brother, 1855 / [image] copied from the original heliograph illustrating Rachel's biography by permission of John Darcie -- The real polkas ... composed & arranged for the piano forte by Ricardo Linter; London, D'Almaine / H.C. Maguire lith. -- Ringlet polka, composed for the piano ... by Charles Blasius; Philadelphia, Geo. Vogt, 1855 -- The Terpsichora polka, composed ... by Cha[rle]s Milsom Jun[io]r; [New York, Firth, Pond] / Lith. of Sarony & Major, N.Y.
Library locations
Jerome Robbins Dance Division
Shelf locator: *MGZFD Pol 4-17
Rachel, 1821?-1858
Polka (Dance)
Ballroom dancing -- 19th century
Dance -- 19th century
Sheet music covers
Acquisition: Marriott's Jog along boys polka Gift; Lincoln Kirstein.
Acquisition: Parisian polka Purchase; Norman Crider, 1970.
Acquisition: Polka quadrilles Purchase; K. Gregory, 1969.
Acquisition: Real polkas Purchase; Gregory, 1967.
Biographical/historical: The variety of images in this collection demonstrates the enormous popularity of the polka, both as a dance and a musical form. Although opinions about its origins differ, it is believed to have roots in Poland or Bohemia. It was brought to Prague in 1837 and made its way to Vienna, St. Petersburg, Paris, and London. Capitalizing on its growing popularity as a ballroom dance, Jules Perrot and Carlotta Grisi introduced it to the ballet stage in 1844. In the mid 1800s, it rivalled the waltz as a dance craze. It has survived into the twenty-first century, and until 2009 was included as a category in the Grammy Awards.
Physical Description
Extent: 14 prints : lithograph, col. and b&w ; 35 x 26 cm. or smaller.
Illustrations from the covers of sheet music intended for performance in the home. Although these music scores (not included in this collection) are all compositions based on the musical form called the polka, the illustrations range from dancers in folk costume to ballroom dancers in formal evening attire, to theatrical performers in costumes of different styles. Two examples do not depict dancing at all: the Rachel polka honors the French actress Rachel, who is portrayed in costume striking a theatrical attitude. The illustration for The mermaid polka depicts the mermaids in their watery habitat, apparently with no thought of dancing.
Type of Resource
Still image
Notated music
RLIN/OCLC: 792807500
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b19609009
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 96373fd0-fd7f-0132-d4cd-58d385a7bbd0
Rights Statement
The New York Public Library believes that this item is in the public domain under the laws of the United States, but did not make a determination as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. This item may not be in the public domain under the laws of other countries. Though not required, if you want to credit us as the source, please use the following statement, "From The New York Public Library," and provide a link back to the item on our Digital Collections site. Doing so helps us track how our collection is used and helps justify freely releasing even more content in the future.

Item timeline of events

  • 1840: Issued (Approximate)
  • 2019: Digitized
  • 2024: Found by you!
  • 2025

MLA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "The polka on 19th-century music covers" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1840 - 1860.

Chicago/Turabian Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "The polka on 19th-century music covers" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 1, 2024.

APA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. (1840 - 1860). The polka on 19th-century music covers Retrieved from

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (still image) The polka on 19th-century music covers, (1840 - 1860) |author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=March 1, 2024 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>

The polka on 19th-century music covers