Java 250 Takes Another Look Back!

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oldjava2Through 250 years of wars, politics, development, weather, science, arts, sports, crime and education in Connecticut, there was the social news. Reports on people and their parties, cotillions, galas, coming-out parties, balls, socials, celebrations, festivals and fetes have been a “must read” during the Courant’s long history. This news made the social columns over the years, under the headers that were Java predecessors: “In The Social World,” “Society,” or “Social and Personal.” On Wednesdays during February we will revisit some of these social reports on the balls, parties, dinners, fundraisers from years past and share them as published then. Welcome to JAVA 250!

In 1867…

The Ball of the Bald Head

The inaugural Ball of the “Bald Head Association” of Hartford, an organization of colored gentlemen, was held at Music Hall Thanksgiving night and was a well arranged affair. The party was small but very select and stylish and was every way very pleasant to all who participated. Benj. Cumminger is president of the association, O. A. Odell vice president, John F. Rodney, secretary and Charles H. Bruce, treasurer. These gentlemen have spared no pains to make the occasion very pleasant. Many of the ladies were very tastefully and elegantly dressed, none more so than Miss Downing of New York, daughter of the wealthy Peter Downing, the celebrated oyster dealer, who appeared in white tarlatan, puffed, with a pink silver overskirt. Many of our Hartford ladies were very elegantly dressed in a like, with lace trimmings and the appearance of the party was quite brilliant. (Nov. 30, 1867)

In 1894…

The Inaugural Ball

Arrangements for the inaugural ball to be given by the Governor’s Foot Guard are progressing smoothly and there is every promise of a most successful assembly. For some years past, Mrs. Samuel Colt has led the march with the grand marshal, and has contributed in no small degree by her presence and cordial interest in making the ball the important social event that it has come to be. Mrs. Colt is in mourning this year and will be able to be present.

Major Hyde has invited Mrs. Frank W. Cheney of South Manchester to do the honors for the occasion this year and she has kindly consented. Mrs. Cheney and Major John C. Parsons, the grand marshal, will lead the march, followed by Governor Coffin and Mrs. Hyde and Major Hyde and Mrs. Coffin. The fact of Mrs. Cheney’s acceptance of this invitation will be received with very general satisfaction by the public, with whom the inaugural ball has come to hold a high place. (Dec. 19, 1894)

In 1912…

Social And Personal


Members of the dance committee of Municipal Hospital Ball held at the Hartford Club Saturday are shown above. Left to right, Miss Mollie Schwartz, Miss Alice E. Richardson, Miss Margaret Dyer, Miss Mary E. Sullivan and Miss Mary Fitzgibbon. (May 4, 1936)

A delightful afternoon reception was held in the tea rooms of the new executive clubhouse of the Young Women’s Branch of the Woman’s Christian Association at Number 79 Church street yesterday afternoon. It was especially cheering to stop from the drizzling gloom of the afternoon into the bright atmosphere of the cozy tea rooms, where, at either end, were the dainty tables with the shining, simmering tea kettles. Mrs. Edward W. Hooker poured at one table and Miss Julia Havermeyer at the other. Tea, delicious sandwiches, marmalade and cake were served. The tea was one of a series that are being given to raise a fund for a certain good cause, and all have been generously patronized by those whose interest has been awakened. (May 14, 1912)

In 1949…

Many Parties Precede Ball and Concert During Week End

The Connecticut Air Guard danced till morning to the music of Vincent Lopez at the State Armory Saturday evening. A gala affair, the State officers declared it to be the gayest and most successful military ball this year. Many dinner parties, buffet suppers and cocktail hours preceded the affair, while a reception for distinguished guests was held prior to the ball in the Officers Lounge at the Armory.

Colonel George Stanley, state Air Guard commander, and Mrs. Stanley entertained at a small dinner party for their week end guests, Major General Robert M. Webster, commanding general of the First Air Force, and Mrs. Webster of Slocum, N. Y. (March 20, 1949).


Looking at the defibrillator, an electrical device to restore the heart to normal action, which was given to St. Francis Hospital by the Women’s Auxiliary are, left to right, Mrs. Frank t. Mullen, auxiliary president, Sister Mary Madeleine, hospital administrator and Mrs. James J. Kennelly, chairman of the annual Flower Ball to be held Feb. 4 at the Hartford Hilton. (Jan. 15, 1967)

In 1967…

Auxiliary’s Annual Flower Ball To Benefit St. Francis Hospital

The annual flower Ball presented by the women’s Auxiliary of St. Francis’ hospital climaxes the gaiety which precedes the solemn Lenten season of the Christian world. This year the Ball will be held at the Hartford Hilton hotel on Feb. 4 with a social hour and dinner preceding the dance.

For this season, the Auxiliary has pledged $49,785 for gifts to the hospital. but that amount will probably be doubled through the revenue received from the Cheer cupboard, the good Samaritan thrift shop, the Ball, Sale of baby pictures and members hips in the Auxiliary. (Jan. 15, 1967)oldjava3

In 1970…

Bushnell’s Birthday Is Festive Event

Oh, it was an occasion to remember, all right, as the Bushnell Memorial celebrated its 40th anniversary last night.

It was a birthday-complete right down –or up, perhaps, -to the towering festal cake brought onstage as a flourish to conclude the program. The audience, in which there were persons who well remembered Feb. 13, 14, and 15, 1930, when Hartford’s now famous cultural center first opened, sang “Happy Birthday.” The City and State sent their best regards. And the Bushnell Memorial returned the compliments by giving-in the tradition to which the community is four-decades indebted-a splendid evening of music.

In addition to the formalities, it was an evening of lightheartedness and nostalgia as such anniversary occasions must always be. Appleton H. Seaverns presided over the more ceremonial aspects of the program. It was mete and right he should, not only because he is president of the Bushnell trustees, but because it was his grandmother, Dotha Bushnell Hillyer and mother, Mrs. Charles F. T. Seaverns, who established the cultural and civic center in memory of Hartford’s distinguished citizen, the Rev. Horace Bushnell, theologian, educator, public benefactor and patriot.

It was nice to have Katherine Houghton, actress in her own right, and daughter of West Hartford Mayor and Mrs. Ellsworth S. Grant, to cut the birthday cake. She is decorative and charming and home-folks and just what was needed for a festive occasion like this. (Jan. 14, 1970)


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