Thursday, January 31, 2013

"These Bradley Martin Times"

   THE NEW YORK TIMES  - Published: January 31, 1897


  Again the incidents and events of another week in the society world, which ordinarily would have been important and interesting, if not all-engrossing, in and by themselves to the devotees of gayety, have been completely overshadowed by the excitement and anticipatory agitation caused by the near coming of the great fancy-dress ball to be given by Mrs. Bradley Martin at the Waldorf on Feb. 10. The universal topic of conversation and discussion is this ball, its probable appointments and arrangements, and the costumes that will be worn individually and collectively by the guests. Although an attempt has been made to keep the costumes a secret by most of the men and women who purpose attending the ball, this has been found impossible, and through friends, servants, and the costumers themselves, many a cherished secret has been divulged. 

There is much complaint expressed regarding several of the costumers up town, who, it is claimed, have placed their prices both for making and renting costumes for the night unreasonably high. The costumers argue, on  the other hand, that they have not sought the business which this ball has brought them, that they have already more orders than they can properly fill, and that the prices they are asking are not as high as those which they obtained at the time of the Vanderbilt fancy-dress ball in 1883. As the time draws nearer for the ball those who have not been able to decide upon or to find costumes that will be becoming or that are within the range of their purses, are exasperated and annoyed and, somewhat paradoxically, are in their vexation denouncing the ball which they nevertheless wish to attend.

  Women are having, as a rule, less trouble with their costumes than men. The majority of the women guests have some costume worn on former occasion which can be made over or so altered as to be available, while those who are not so fortunate have experienced little difficulty in arranging for costumes at the costumers' or dressmakers'. 

 1897 THE BRADLEY MARTIN BALL Mr. and Mrs. Bradley Martin gave a fashionable and extravagant private costume ball on the theme of the court of Louis XV at the old Waldorf on Fifth Avenue and 34th Street.

  Men as a rule do not preserve fancy dress suits after they have been once worn, and in the few cases where they have done so they may not happen to be appropriate to the period of fashion and history selected by Mrs. Martin. The costumers also, one and all, appear to have a paucity of costumes for either thin or stout men, and one irate gentleman at an up-town costumer's the other day was heard to say;  "I should imagine that the general run of male customers at this establishment must be either three or eight feet tall, and must weigh either below 100 or ever 300 pounds." Much bewilderment has been caused by the publication of several costumes with the names of their supposed wearers, and which appear to be entirely inappropriate to the persons named. This publication is purely imaginary for the most part, and is evidently the product of a reporter's imagination. The correct costumes of most of the guests of the ball will not be known until the event has taken place. The quadrilles are being formed under the direction of Mrs. Astor, Mrs. Baylies, Mrs. Bronson, and other ladies, and there will be costume dinners before the ball given by Mrs. John Jacob Astor, Mrs. Ogden Mills, Mrs. Philip Rhinelander, Mrs. Henry Sloane, Mrs. Frederic Bronson, Mr. James A. Garland, and others. The so-called debutante quadrille, which it is said will be danced by Miss Morton, Miss Marie Churchill, and the Messrs. H. D. Hobbins, Searle Barclay, Robert Livingston, Worthington Whitehouse, M. Morris, and J. de Wolf Cutting is rather absurdly named, as Miss Churchill is not a debutante, nor are Messrs. Robert Livingston and Worthington Whitehouse exactly in their first youth. Mrs. Frederic Bronson is said to have charge of the young matrons and "two-year-old" girls' quadrille. It is known that Marie Antoinettes will be most numerous. Mrs. Lloyd Bryce, Miss Rolen Brice. Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish, Mrs. John Jacob Astor, and Mrs. Oakley Rhinelander have all decided to personate the ill-fated Queen. Mr. Frederick T. Martin, a brother of Mr. Bradley Martin, is said to have paid $500 for a Louis XV. Court costume, while Messis. Hermann Oelriehs and William Parsons will personate two of Rembrandt's Burgomasters. Mr. Oswald Jackson will go as a Venetian nobleman, as will also Messrs. Langdon Erving F.  Bishop, and Jules Vatable. It is safe to say that the majority of men guests will wear Court costumes of the period of Louis XV. and XVI.

  It is now known that Mrs. Martin has issued about 1,000 invitations for the ball, and that some 1,200 people will probably attend it. There will be a large delegation from Washington and a small delegation from Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, while even far-off New Orleans, Savannah,and Charleston will be represented. One married couple is coming from San Francisco and five or six persons have sent acceptances from London and will actually brave the ocean in midwinter for the purpose of attending the ball. The London papers have already taken up Dr. Rainsford's ill-timed and discourteous reflections upon the coming entertainment, and orders have been given to the correspondents of the London newspapers of this city to cable full and long stories of the event. The tone of the London press regarding Dr. Rainsford's attack is strongly condemnatory. It has had the effect, however, of making the ball an event of much wider public interest than it would otherwise have been.

Click HERE to read the news for January 30, 1897.

  "It has certainly been a much gayer and more brilliant one thus far than could have been anticipated in what are now called "These Bradley Martin times." The New York Times January 30, 1897  In a article commenting on the 'brilliant" society season thus far and the anticipation for the upcoming ball. 

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