Back in the 1870s in New York City, Purim gave the then-still-small Jewish community an excuse to celebrate. They marked it with fancy masquerade balls and house-to-house visits. Here are two quick newspaper clips, windows on the era.First, from the New-York Times, March 25, 1872: (BTW- The two politicians mentioned toward the end, Hank Smith and [Benjamin] Manierre, were members of NYC's notoriously corrupt police commission who were exposed around this time as connected to Boss Tweed. Smith fled the country to avoid prison.)
By this second clip, also from the New-York Times, March 7, 1879, the Purim Ball had grown more upscale. Notice the Rothschilds, Seligmans, Schiffs, and other financial types in the box seats.