Monday, November 11, 2013

☞ BESPOKE: A Social Whist Party Card

A Bespoke reader in Hamilton Heights is going through a brownstone renovation and found a memento of the past under a floorboard.  This social whist party card from 1927 is a token of the Harlem Renaissance when rent parties were thrown to help the patron pay their monthly dues.   With all the musical talent living uptown at the time, it was easy to gather a band together and serve up drinks for a small fee.

Social whist cards would be provided formerly as an invite which usually had a verse or rhyme at the top, the patron's name somewhere within, the address and the date.  This particular party was even apparently further up in Central Harlem with location on 7th Avenue between 145th and 146th Street. The word whist is apparently an Irish term which means "hush" or "silent".  Whist was also an old card game that might just be a reference because cards were used as party invites.

4 comments:

  1. Great find, this has to be framed and put on display.

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  2. Whist and Bid Whist are very popular card games in African American culture. This was probably a card party.

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  3. This was definitely a rent party. The term whist was used to vaguely hide the fact.

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  4. History unfolded!

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