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Who was the first flapper? – Flapper Dresses 22W

The first flappers were not female. Most of the history of women’s dancing is known from the 19th century, by the flapper dancers, and there are few clues as to the identity of first flapper. Some scholars believe that the first flapper was Mary Jones (d. 1853) who danced ballet on the London catwalks, and that she was also the daughter of a prominent American gentleman who moved to Britain and became a flapper, while others think that the first flapper was Annie Oakley. In an attempt to confirm or refute the attribution to her, some scholars suggest that her performance was actually the ‘rear view of the ‘Queen in the King.’ This could be a more accurate picture of her behavior. Her dress resembled that of the ‘Queen’ in the King’s wardrobe. This theory is supported by the picture of the ‘Queen’ in the King’s wardrobe and the other evidence of the ‘Queen’ dress as well as the dancing she did in the ‘candy shops’ and ‘the theatres’ on the day she first appeared on stage.

The most likely hypothesis of the first flapper being the daughter of an American merchant was suggested by a biography of Martha Washington published in 1854 and the following year by Edward St. John in a biography of Henry Catesby. This ‘Mrs. Catesby’ also was described as a dance and dance shop owner. Her father was a merchant, and the family moved to Britain in 1839 to follow the American Revolution. After serving as a sergeant and surgeon in the army during the war, and after returning to England, Catesby left her husband and their children to travel and practice as a flute maker. In 1850, she married an American, Jacob F. McNeill, of Worcester, Massachusetts, and settled in Baltimore, Maryland, where she lived next to the Catesby family. She was also a member of the Young Women’s Hebrew Association of Baltimore, and one can only assume that she did her homework well before marrying McNeill and being an active in the Baltimore society. She and her husband were very close friends with the two sisters of Martha Washington.

A similar narrative emerges from contemporary writings. In October 1840, a book by Emma Hale (1804–77) describing life at the Catesby home appeared. In November 1840, an account by Emma Hale was published by Mary Adams and Emma Adams, two daughters of the late Joseph Adams (d. 1824). In 1841,

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