Wednesday, June 25, 2014


    The invitation billed the Circus Party as a "not fancy dress" affair although the guests arrived in black tie and floor length gowns. 

    Marshall Field III was vice President and Treasurer of the Long Island Biological Association, now known as Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Second wife, Audrey Jennings (Standard Oil, "Burrwood") Field was known for her spectacular parties. To benefit the Long Island Biological Association, Audrey planned the party which was dubbed "one of the funniest parties of the season" with a circus theme.

   Dinner was served by Louis Sherry’s of New York City on the estates lawns and terraces, which were lit by great flood lights and streamers of multicolored electric lights strung in a festive fashion. During dinner a dance band played. 

   Guests enjoyed dinner and dancing in a gorgeous botanical setting, overlooking L. I. Sound, under the stars. That was only the beginning. After dinner the guests proceeded to another area of the grounds, which had been converted into a Midway for the occasion. At the Midway they were exhorted by society "barkers" to enjoy the various attractions. These attractions, operated and manned by society friends included, "The Freak Show", "The Coney Island Photo Booth", "The Long Island Living Pictures Show", and "The Dancing Well". Other attractions included a Wheel of Fortune, a ride around the estate on a bicycle built for two, walking with the man on stilts, and a visit with the "toast of the talkies", Mickey Mouse.

   Requested in the invitation, guests were expected to have a sense of humor and a certain amount of talent. The guests and their hosts manned most of the booths, and also were the models as well for the caricatures represented in the activities.

   Late night entertainment brought the show indoors. Guests entered the mansion’s living room for the Midnight Cabaret were an impressive collection of show business greats performed.

   The magnificent landscape, seascape and skyscape setting of "Caumsett" was said to "usher in a new era of parties" in the 1930’s. 

1 comment:

  1. Not a "Fancy Dress" party meant that the guests were not to wear costumes. The theme of the party did not extend to the attire, which apparently was understood to be formal. It sounds like lots of fun.