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As in previous years, domestic activities like conversation, reading, needlepoint, visiting friends and having parties were the most common entertainment. During the Antebellum period, however, public events became more prevalent. Because of improved transportation, lecture and performance tours traveled across the country, among the most famous being Charles Dickens? 1842 tour and P.T. Barnum?s traveling entertainers in the 1840s and 1850s. Outdoor sports such as ninepines and sleighing, were popular and inexpensive. Among spectator sports, horse racing and boxing were the general favorites.