Family

The Idlewild Debutantes of 1951

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Dallas’ deb season officially begins this weekend. When I say the “season”, I mean the traditional season that’s been around since 1884 before there was La Fiesta de las Seis Bandera and the Dallas Symphony’s presentation ball. I don’t know how long the season was in my mother’s time, but during mine, 1975, it lasted for three months with up to two parties a day with the exception of Sundays and Mondays. It’s a very different story now with an abbreviated season and fewer parties during the week.

I find the photos of my mother’s era far more glamorous than what has been produced in the last thirty years — especially in the last ten years with the advent of the digital photo. Perhaps it’s because of the black and white format? Maybe it’s because we no longer have the same kind of poise and polish. Continue to see what I’m talking about.

(above) Here my poor mother is pouring tea. She and I both hated teas. The same goes for luncheons.
(above) Here my poor mother is pouring tea. She and I both hated teas. The same goes for luncheons.
(above) The main ballroom at Brook Hollow Golf Club. Each deb is presented at her own ball by her parents. In this case my mother and a fellow deb, Gloria Slaughter, and their parents teamed up. It’s much more affordable that way.
(above) The main ballroom at Brook Hollow Golf Club. Each deb is presented at her own ball by her parents. In this case my mother and a fellow deb, Gloria Slaughter, and their parents teamed up. It’s much more affordable that way.
(above from left to right) Leo Corrigan, Joy Brown, Gloria Slaughter, and Bob Carter in the receiving line at Joy’s and Gloria’s ball.
(above from left to right) Leo Corrigan, Joy Brown, Gloria Slaughter, and Bob Carter in the receiving line at Joy’s and Gloria’s ball.
(above) Here my mother is dancing with her father, William J. Brown.
(above) Here my mother is dancing with her father, William J. Brown.
(above) This photo of my mother was taken for the newspaper. Please note how prominently the sterling cigarette lighter and Parliament cigarettes were displayed. In those days all respectable homes were expected to have these accoutrements. And the same goes for the Steuben crystal ashtrays.
(above) This photo of my mother was taken for the newspaper. Please note how prominently the sterling cigarette lighter and Parliament cigarettes were displayed. In those days all respectable homes were expected to have these accoutrements. And the same goes for the Steuben crystal ashtrays.
(above) Coffee and desert with the oldest surviving Dallas debutante, whose name I don’t know. At left kneeling: Betty Butler, Ann McBee, Mary Jo McCorkle; standing left to right: Phyllis Anne Carter, Carolyn Craugh, Joy Brown, Marilyn Ray, Mary Margaret Lackey; at right kneeling from back to front: Sarah Sharp, Ruth Ann Rogers, Margaret Kervin.
(above) Coffee and desert with the oldest surviving Dallas debutante, whose name I don’t know. At left kneeling: Betty Butler, Ann McBee, Mary Jo McCorkle; standing left to right: Phyllis Anne Carter, Carolyn Craugh, Joy Brown, Marilyn Ray, Mary Margaret Lackey; at right kneeling from back to front: Sarah Sharp, Ruth Ann Rogers, Margaret Kervin.
(above left to right) Mary Jo McCorkle and Mary Margaret Lackey at a dinner party given by Mrs. Clint Murchison for my mother and Ann McBee. Mary Jo is Dallas’ very own Lana Turner — both sharing a glamorous essence.
(above left to right) Mary Jo McCorkle and Mary Margaret Lackey at a dinner party given by Mrs. Clint Murchison for my mother and Ann McBee. Mary Jo is Dallas’ very own Lana Turner — both sharing a glamorous essence.
(above) Mary Jo McCorkle with her future husband, Jack C. Vaughn, and Phyllis Ann Carter.
(above) Mary Jo McCorkle with her future husband, Jack C. Vaughn, and Phyllis Ann Carter.
(above) My mother escorted by Currie McCutcheon at the final presentation ball of the season given by the Terpsichorean Club.
(above) My mother escorted by Currie McCutcheon at the final presentation ball of the season given by the Terpsichorean Club.

2 thoughts on “The Idlewild Debutantes of 1951”

  1. linda farnsworth says:

    i love all your glamorous photos…my mother was never a deb, but she gave many parties for them over the years. i have a closet full of her gorgeous ballgowns from that era, as well as all the smoking accoutrements you referred to…definitely a different time! thanks for sharing!

    1. Patsy Ann says:

      Yes, Linda it was so different in those days. I noticed in one of the photos one very glamorous deb wearing stockings with open toed high heels. How in the heck did she negotiate society without continually sliding down out of her shoes?

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