Saturday, April 27, 2013

Castle House is Opened

Vernon and Irene Castle

Here is the New York Times reporting on the opening of Castle House.
The article is heavy with indicators of wealth (limousines, fashionable, private house, personal direction, everybody seemed to know everybody else) and respectability (afternoon, tea and lemonade.) Did you notice that Mrs. Hermann Oelrichs, hostess of the famous White Ball at Rosecliff, was one of the patronesses? Minstrel Orchestra means that the orchestra consisted of black musicians. James Reese Europe's orchestra was rather fabulous,as we can still hear in their recordings, but in those days they were not noticed by society. 

Society Crowd Dances Tango as
Minstrel Orchestra Plays.

There was a large and fashionable attendance yesterday afternoon at the opening of Castle House, in East Forty-sixth Street, opposite the entrance to the Ritz-Carlton, where society is to enjoy modern dancing every afternoon from 4 to 6:30 o'clock as they would in a private house. The dancing will be under the personal direction of Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Castle.

Miss Elsie de Wolfe and Miss Elizabeth Marbury are interested in the project, which has transformed the building formerly occupied by Mrs. Osborn's dressmaking establishment into a new centre for dancing, and they were much gratified yesterday at the turnout of people prominent in the social world. Mrs. John Corbin and Mrs. R. L. McDuffle, with Miss Marbury, are the superintendents.

Among the patronesses are Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish,  Mrs. Hermann Oelrichs, Mrs. W. Bourke Cockran, Mrs. W. G. Rockefeller, :Mrs. Anthony J. Drexel, Jr.,  Miss de Wolfe, Mrs. Amos Pinchot, and Mrs. T. J. Oakley Rhinelander. 

By the time the doors were ·thrown open there was a long line of limousines waiting outside. The visitors passed through the hall, with its trickling marble fountain, and up the wide staircase to the first ballroom,  which became so crowded in a few minutes that the orchestra had to be  transferred to the adjoining ballroom, which was ample to accommodate all.

Tea and lemonade were served on the balcony overlooking both of the ballrooms,  where Mr. and Mrs. Castle were busily engaged all afternoon dancing with the patrons under the pink-shaded electroliers. A minstrel orchestra furnished the syncopated music, and the tango, one-step, and hesitation waltz seemed most in favor. Altogether it was very much like a private function. Everybody  seemed to know everybody else, and those who did not care to dance, who were in the minority, sat on the rows of chairs, or sipped at their tea. Many young people were present.

Mrs. James B. Eustis, Mrs. Lee Thomas,  Mrs. J. Gordon Douglas, Mrs. T. J. Oakley Rhinelander, Baron and Broness de Meyer,  Mrs. Hollis Hunnewell, Mrs. Hamilton Wilkes Cary. Mrs. S. Stanwood, Menken,  Mrs. Stephen H. Brown,  Miss Joan Whitridge, Miss Rives, Miss Jeannette Gilder,  Mrs. Anthony J. Drexel. Jr., Mrs. James H. Kidder. Mrs. Frederick Y. Dalziel, Mrs. Dave H. Coddington, Mrs. Frank Sturgis, Lawrence Perkins,  Mrs. Fairfax S. Landstreet, and James L. Breese, Jr., I were among those seen during the afternoon.

Published: December 16, 1913
Copyright © The New York Times

Europe's Society Orchestra

Exterior and Interior of Castle House

"Suggestions" from Modern Dancing 1914

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