History of the Brooklyn and Long Island Fair, February 22, 1864
The Calico Ball pg. 93-94
The Ball was given with great éclat on Friday evening, March 11th. More than half the ladies were in plain calico dresses. The music was furnished by Sanger’s and Dodworth’s Bands…
The Ball netted about two thousand dollars for the worthy object for which it was given. After the Ball, many of the ladies who were present sent their calico dresses to the Academy to be given to the soldiers’ wives and daughters.
My diary in America in the midst of war, Vol. 2, by George Augustus Sala
At one time, I am told, “Calico Balls” were fashionable. Do you know the nature of a calico ball? The ladies who are to attend it agree to wear only calico dresses; the colour, the design, and the trimmings being left to the discretion of the wearer. After a few weeks of the calico movement, it was found that the New York milliners were charging rather more for cotton dresses full trimmed than they had hitherto asked for silks and satins. Then the movement was modified. The ladies came in calico dresses, like so many Molly Moggs, and wore them until twelve o’clock: but at midnight the reverse of the transformation scene in Cinderella took place. The cotton-clad belles tripped into their disrobing power, whisked off their calico frocks, and re-appeared in dresses of the most expensive materials, and blazing with jewels.
History of Lynn 1865
There was a “Calico Ball” at the Sagamore House, on Wednesday evening, January 19. All the ladies appeared in calico dresses, which at that time were the cheapest style of dress. A hundred couples were present. The prize of a gold bracelet was awarded to the lady who in the judgment of a committee was arrayed in the most neat and becoming manner, personal charms also being taken into account—and Miss Nellie Clapp was the fair winner of the prize. It was a very pleasant gathering; and the prevalence of silks and satins could not have added to its attractiveness.