But then came the pol­ka, the dance so pop­u­lar that mid-19th cen­tu­ry Europe came up with the word “polka­ma­nia” to describe its own excite­ment. As the pol­ka craze swept west across the con­ti­nent, enthu­si­asts claimed the pol­ka jack­et, then the pol­ka hat (nei­ther of them spot­ted), and final­ly, the pol­ka dot. There is only a ten­u­ous con­nec­tion between dot and dance, yet sure­ly the two are linked—it’s pos­si­ble that pol­ka dots reflect the same reg­u­lat­ed, short bursts of ener­gy that inflect the pol­ka itself. Regard­less, we know that the Amer­i­can women’s mag­a­zine Godey’s Lady’s Book was the first to print the term, in an 1857 descrip­tion of a “scarf of muslin, for light sum­mer wear, sur­round­ed by a scal­loped edge, embroi­dered in rows of round pol­ka dots.”