My lovely mother, Alma, a taxi dancer?


When I was loading 1920’s flapper girl buttons on this website today I began thinking about my mother, Alma.  She often told me stories about her and her friend, Betty, and the fun they had taxi dancing in Fort Peck, Montana.  Now that sounded quite risqué to me.  I thought it meant they were like the flapper girls of the 1920’s; very “modern” women who smoked, drank, dressed without corsets, danced all night and attended “petting parties”.    My mother set me straight.  The practice of taxi dancing started in larger cities at bars and dance halls in the late 1800’s.  Women employees danced with men who purchased tickets from the establishment owner for the pleasure of dancing with the women.  The women collected a ticket from each man for each dance.  Tickets normally cost the men 10 cents per dance.  At the end of the night women redeemed the tickets they collected for 5 cents each from the dance hall or establishment owner.  By the early 1920’s the practice of taxi dancing was being phased out in big cities.  In San Francisco in 1921 taxi dancing was outlawed due to the women’s suffrage movement.  In the late 1930’s and early 40’s at Fort Peck, Montana, taxi-dancing was still going strong and involved mainly young women, like my mom and her friends, who wanted to earn money dancing and meet nice young men.  Interesting to note the price in Fort Peck in the 1930’s and 1940’s when my mom and her friend were taxi dancing was the same as in the big cities when taxi dancing first started.  My mother told me taxi dancing was fun and worth it since she earned a lot of nickels and, also, met my dad, a handsome young cowboy!