Voucher to Almack's

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    It was the hottest A-list invitation sought after by Regency society: A voucher (or ticket of admission) to a ball at Almack’s assembly rooms in London. Only society’s elite were granted these coveted passes. To be stricken from the list was social disaster. This voucher to Almack’s was issued in 1817 to Anna Elizabeth Grenville, Marchioness of Buckingham—who obviously cherished it enough to safeguard it for posterity. See it, along with other rarities from The Huntington’s collections (including a first edition of Jane Austen’s masterpiece, Pride and Prejudice and a musical score in Beethoven’s own hand) in the exhibition Revisiting the Regency: England, 1811–1821, on view through Aug. 1, 2011.

    © The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
    San Marino, Calif. USA

    All rights reserved

    1. Marcie Gonzalez 35 months ago | reply

      Wow, this is so cool. Look at that wonderful swirly script writing. Is that a wax seal?
      The oldest thing I have is a book titled, "Queen Alexandra's Christmas Gift Book -- photos from my camera" which was published in 1908 to be sold for charity. The book contains a series of photographs taken by Queen Alexandra using Kodaks. They are reproduced in printed form rather than as actual photographic prints. The album presents a set of delightful informal snaps of the Royal Family their relations and events. There are pictures of the Emperor of Russia and of the children -- and we know what happened to them. It's so strange to look at these images knowing they were still alive when this was published. I found the book at a flea market years ago. Don't think the person selling it know what it was.

    2. The Huntington Library 35 months ago | reply

      Wow! That sounds like a wonderful find. You might have to post a photo of it.... :-)

    3. Carol Hamlin 35 months ago | reply

      This will give a big thrill to fans of Georgette Heyer, in whose novels the maneuvering for the coveted voucher is often a major plot point. I'm trying to figure out whose initials those are: not the Countess of Jersey (Sally to her friends) or the Princess Lieven. Anybody got an idea?

    4. The Huntington Library 35 months ago | reply

      Our chief curator of manuscripts says she spent quite a bit of time trying to identify those initials, but no luck. They don't seem to correspond to the known "Lady Patronesses" who controlled the distribution of the vouchers to the select few. Possibly the initials of a clerk or secretary, she says.

    5. nowhereonearth 35 months ago | reply

      What's strange is the "M" in "Marchioness" doesn't look at all like the "M" in the initials at the bottom (at least, I assume that's an "M" in the initials -- MD (+J or some other letter like T or I ??)

    6. inkslinger.k 24 months ago | reply

      What is the word/words above Ladies Voucher?

    7. inkslinger.k 24 months ago | reply

      additional question--Is the seal anything identifiable(ie crest)? I don't get enough detail to make anything out.

    8. faeparsons 24 months ago | reply

      Speculation over on the Beau Monde author loop is that "MD" is Mary Downshire the Marchioness of Downshore, a patroness in late 1816. There are an awful lot of Regency history experts there, many of them in possession of primary source documents. But not a voucher. ;-)

    9. The Huntington Library 24 months ago | reply

      Reply to Inkslinger.k: The curator believes the words are "Third Set," although the ink is very faded so it's hard to be absolutely sure.

    10. The Huntington Library 24 months ago | reply

      The imprint on the wax seal is no longer visible, alas!

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