Ball “Made” Vanderbilts
Magnificent Entertainment Gained Family Formal Recognition by Recognized New York “Society.”
The Vanderbilts obtained their first secure foothold in New York’s leading society by a great fancy-dress ball given by Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt In her beautiful Fifth Avenue house on the evening of March 26, 1883. It surpassed in splendor, in beauty, in brilliancy, and in luxurious and lavish expense any scene before witnessed in New York. But two or three of the leaders of New York society, notably Mrs. William Astor, had never called upon any of the ladies of the Vanderbilt family.
According to the generally accepted story, soon after the announcement of the forthcoming ball, but before the formal invitations had been issued, Miss Carrie Astor, the only unmarried daughter of Mrs. William Astor, organized a fancy dress quadrille to be danced at the ball by several young ladies and gentlemen, it being taken for granted by the Astors that, as leaders of society, they would, of course, be invited. Mrs. Vanderbilt heard of this, and stated in the hearing of some friends that she could not invite Miss Astor to her ball, as her mother had never called upon her.
This reached Mrs. Astor’s ears, and soon after she called upon Mrs. Vanderbilt. She and her daughter were invited to the Vanderbilt ball. Thus did the ball break the last barrier down and the Vanderbilt family was firmly established among New York’s social leaders. –Healdsburg Enterprise, 1923
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