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The Gay Season Opened by the Patriarchs At Delmonico's 12-20-1880
 

 
 
 
 

Last night at Delmonico's, the whole upper portion of the building was given up to the first great private ball of the season of 1880-1, the December entertainment of the Patriarchs. The association by which the entertainments are given, was founded 10 years ago by a few leaders in New York society. Its members give three balls in the course of the Winter, of which the initial one is always regarded as the leading event. This season the pressure for invitations has been so great that the number of persons comprised in the association has been increased, although not to the sacrifice of the exclusiveness of tone which has rendered these affairs so popular with our best society. Much diplomacy was exercised by people not fully admitted to the inner circle to obtain invitations, but as one of the managers observed yesterday, a limit must be fixed somewhere, and 400 guests form a pleasant coterie while 4,000 would be simply crushing. The association this season numbers 48 gentlemen. Intended to be a species of American Almack's the gentlemen composing it must be leaders socially as well as financially.

The following is the list for this season: William Astor, Hamilton Fish, Francis R. Rives, William E. Schermerhorn, Johnston Livingston, Buchanan Winthrop, William Waldorf Astor, Robert Goelet, Ward McAllister, William R. Travers, Royal Phelps, Clarkson N. Potter, George Henry Warren, Adrian Iselin, Delancey Kane, John W. Hamersley, Edwin A. Post, James W. Gerard, Augustus Belmont, Charles E. Strong, Jonathan Edwards, George L. Rives, F. S.G. d'Hauteville, George Peabody Wetmore, Maturin Livingston, William Oothout, Smith Clift, H.A. Johnson, Pierre Lorillard, Charles Suydam, John Stewart, Jr., J.A. Roosevelt, J.N.A. Griswold, George G. Haven, R.G. Remsen, William Turnbull, Charles H. Berryman, William Gihon, N.N. Rockwell, Alexander S. Webb, E.N. Taylor, Edward Cooper, William Cruger Pell, J.W. Clendenning, S.V.R. Cruger, Louis C. Hamersley, Meredith Howland, Matthew Wilks. As it is an unwritten by-law that every Patriarch shall be present at the first ball of the season with his wife, If married, the list of guests embraced all the preceding names.

The floral decorations were magnificent. The materials, as usual on such occasions, consisted of ropes of smilax, ferns of exotic beauty, and Eastern palms of various species, filled in with vases of flowering plants and banked with verdure until perfect thickets were formed. The entrance to the ball-room was thus transformed into a carpeted path upon either hand, of which palms, ferns, and flowers were banked shoulder-high and the ball-room itself was decked with the same regard to general design rather than merely decorated here and there with special pieces. When the work of the florist was finished the upper floors were closed to visitors, and none were permitted to pass without the special sanction of the manager of the entertainment.

The arrival of the guests did not commence until 10 o'clock, and it was 10:30 before the saloons were at all crowded. At midnight the scene was one of dazzling magnificence, and parlors and ball-room were thronged with brilliant toilets. A tacit understanding was arrived at among the ladies who expected to be present that toilets specially imported from Paris should be the order of the evening, and this understanding was carried into effect with all the resources that unlimited wealth can command. There were laces yellow with antiquity, and so gossamer in texture that yards could be stuffed into a lady's thimble. The family diamonds and pearls came out of their velvet-lined caskets, and caught a new store of light from the flash of a gas-jet or the eye of a society belle. It was a kaleidoscope in which human figures played the part of the bits of colored glass.

Of the distinguished guests who were expected to drop in the course of the entertainment the names may be mentioned of President Hayes and wife, Gen. and Mrs. Grant. Among those present were the Hon. Hamilton Fish, Gen. George B. McClellan and wife, James MacIntosh, of England, Gerald Paget, the head of the house of Angle-sea, and wife, the Prince d'Oliveto, Capt. and Mrs. Randolph, of England, the Baron Favrot de Kerbreck, and Capt. de la Chiere, of France.

Among the ladies whose toilets were particularly noticed for splendor and taste were Miss Astor, Miss Fish, Mrs. d'Hauteville, Mrs. Wetmore, Miss Beckwith, Mrs. William Astor, Mrs. Frederick Bronson, Mrs. James Potter, Mrs. Stuart, Mrs. S.S. Howland, Mrs. S.V.R. Cruger, the Misses Jerome, Mrs. Yznaga, who has just returned from Europe and a visit to her sister, Lady Mandeville, Mrs. Robert Goelet, Mrs. Ogden Goelet, Mrs. Paran Stevens, Mrs. Pierre Lorillard, Miss Livingston, Miss Post, and the Misses Carroll, and many others. Among the young ladies who made their debut in society were Miss Lanier and Miss May Robbins.

At 12:30 supper was served in the restaurant, and at 1 o'clock Col. Delancey Kane led a cotillion with Mrs. John Steward, Jr., Mr. Ward McAllister with Mrs. J. Lawrence Lees forming the second couple in the set. Among the guests, in addition to those already mentioned, were Mr. and Mrs.. William H. Vanderbilt, Gen. and Mrs. Cullum, Mr. and Mrs. W.K. Stewart, Mr. and Mrs.. Cavendish Rentinck, Mrs. F. Newbold, Mr. Oakley Rhinelander, Mr. Frank Gray Griswold, Mr. Thomas Maitland, Mr. Oliver Northcote, of England, Mr. Lispenard Stewart, Mr. Gerald Hoyt; Mr. Henry Hoyt, Mr. August Belmont, Jr., Mr. J.V. Parker, Mr. Goold Hoyt, Mr. F. Gebhard, Mr. Henry Livingston, Mr. Center Hitchcock, M. De Bilt, of the Foreign Legation; Mr. Martin Van Buren, and Mr.. Iselin. Carriages were ordered at 3:30 A.M.

Source: The following is the list for this season: William Astor, Hamilton Fish, Francis R. Rives, William E. Schermerhorn, Johnston Livingston, Buchanan Winthrop, William Waldorf Astor, Robert Goelet, Ward McAllister, William R. Travers, Royal Phelps, Clarkson N. Potter, George Henry Warren, Adrian Iselin, Delancey Kane, John W. Hamersley, Edwin A. Post, James W. Gerard, Augustus Belmont, Charles E. Strong, Jonathan Edwards, George L. Rives, F. S.G. d'Hauteville, George Peabody Wetmore, Maturin Livingston, William Oothout, Smith Clift, H.A. Johnson, Pierre Lorillard, Charles Suydam, John Stewart, Jr., J.A. Roosevelt, J.N.A. Griswold, George G. Haven, R.G. Remsen, William Turnbull, Charles H. Berryman, William Gihon, N.N. Rockwell, Alexander S. Webb, E.N. Taylor, Edward Cooper, William Cruger Pell, J.W. Clendenning, S.V.R. Cruger, Louis C. Hamersley, Meredith Howland, Matthew Wilks. As it is an unwritten by-law that every Patriarch shall be present at the first ball of the season with his wife, If married, the list of guests embraced all the preceding names.

The floral decorations were magnificent. The materials, as usual on such occasions, consisted of ropes of smilax, ferns of exotic beauty, and Eastern palms of various species, filled in with vases of flowering plants and banked with verdure until perfect thickets were formed. The entrance to the ball-room was thus transformed into a carpeted path upon either hand, of which palms, ferns, and flowers were banked shoulder-high and the ball-room itself was decked with the same regard to general design rather than merely decorated here and there with special pieces. When the work of the florist was finished the upper floors were closed to visitors, and none were permitted to pass without the special sanction of the manager of the entertainment.

The arrival of the guests did not commence until 10 o'clock, and it was 10:30 before the saloons were at all crowded. At midnight the scene was one of dazzling magnificence, and parlors and ball-room were thronged with brilliant toilets. A tacit understanding was arrived at among the ladies who expected to be present that toilets specially imported from Paris should be the order of the evening, and this understanding was carried into effect with all the resources that unlimited wealth can command. There were laces yellow with antiquity, and so gossamer in texture that yards could be stuffed into a lady's thimble. The family diamonds and pearls came out of their velvet-lined caskets, and caught a new store of light from the flash of a gas-jet or the eye of a society belle. It was a kaleidoscope in which human figures played the part of the bits of colored glass.

Of the distinguished guests who were expected to drop in the course of the entertainment the names may be mentioned of President Hayes and wife, Gen. and Mrs. Grant. Among those present were the Hon. Hamilton Fish, Gen. George B. McClellan and wife, James MacIntosh, of England, Gerald Paget, the head of the house of Angle-sea, and wife, the Prince d'Oliveto, Capt. and Mrs. Randolph, of England, the Baron Favrot de Kerbreck, and Capt. de la Chiere, of France.

Among the ladies whose toilets were particularly noticed for splendor and taste were Miss Astor, Miss Fish, Mrs. d'Hauteville, Mrs. Wetmore, Miss Beckwith, Mrs. William Astor, Mrs. Frederick Bronson, Mrs. James Potter, Mrs. Stuart, Mrs. S.S. Howland, Mrs. S.V.R. Cruger, the Misses Jerome, Mrs. Yznaga, who has just returned from Europe and a visit to her sister, Lady Mandeville, Mrs. Robert Goelet, Mrs. Ogden Goelet, Mrs. Paran Stevens, Mrs. Pierre Lorillard, Miss Livingston, Miss Post, and the Misses Carroll, and many others. Among the young ladies who made their debut in society were Miss Lanier and Miss May Robbins.

At 12:30 supper was served in the restaurant, and at 1 o'clock Col. Delancey Kane led a cotillion with Mrs. John Steward, Jr., Mr. Ward McAllister with Mrs. J. Lawrence Lees forming the second couple in the set. Among the guests, in addition to those already mentioned, were Mr. and Mrs.. William H. Vanderbilt, Gen. and Mrs. Cullum, Mr. and Mrs. W.K. Stewart, Mr. and Mrs.. Cavendish Rentinck, Mrs. F. Newbold, Mr. Oakley Rhinelander, Mr. Frank Gray Griswold, Mr. Thomas Maitland, Mr. Oliver Northcote, of England, Mr. Lispenard Stewart, Mr. Gerald Hoyt; Mr. Henry Hoyt, Mr. August Belmont, Jr., Mr. J.V. Parker, Mr. Goold Hoyt, Mr. F. Gebhard, Mr. Henry Livingston, Mr. Center Hitchcock, M. De Bilt, of the Foreign Legation; Mr. Martin Van Buren, and Mr. Iselin. Carriages were ordered at 3:30 A.M.

 

 
 
Website: The History Box.com
Article Name: The Gay Season Opened by the Patriarchs At Delmonico's 12-20-1880
Researcher/Transcriber: Miriam Medina

Source:

 New York Times Dec 21, 1880. p. 2 (1 page)
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