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BOX SOCIALS

During the 1890's and 1900's community box socials were popular not only as a source of entertainment but as a means of raising money for things such as maps, globes, charts, blackboards and other such items for the school. The school girls or young ladies of the community prepared box lunches which would be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Legend holds that one young man paid $45.00 for a cake auctioned off during a "social" held in the Elwood School in 1907.

Prior to the auction, the gathering crowd participated in sing-a-longs or watched local talent shows, or, on occasion, a spelling bee. The excitement heightened when the box lunches wrapped in colorful paper were auctioned off. Supposedly the name of the young lady who prepared each boxed lunch was to be a secret however, this was not often a well-kept secret if the young lady's beau was present. Usually, when he placed his bid, other young men took great delight in bidding against him, often running his bid up to $10 or $15 before backing out and letting him secure the winning bid.

Source:

Ringgold County History Complied and written by the Iowa Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Iowa, Sponsored by Ringgold County Superintendent of Schools, Mount Ayr, Iowa. 1942.

Submitted by Sharon R. Becker, 2008

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