Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The James Hazen Hyde Ball

James Hazen Hyde's grand party he held in the ballroom of Sherry's in 1905 
was, and still is today, considered amongst the most lavish and expensive parties
ever held in the whole universe! The Equitable Assurance Society of New York 
millionaire invited everyone who was anyone to the magnificent event. Attired
in his dark-green formal attire of the Coaching Club, he greeted his 600 guests
who danced the night the night away in the two ballrooms at Sherry's. The $200,000
ball included hundreds of bottles of champagne and a play which Hyde had 
specially commissioned. 

Guests at the Hyde Ball; At the far right is Mrs Stuyvesant "Mamie" Fish; the white haired man is Stanford White. 

The grand ball was the talk of society for months. Costumed were commissioned 
for thousands of dollars; family jewels and heirloom pieces were pulled out from
vaults; wigs were purchased and powdered; carriages and other luxury means of
transport were bought just for the occasion. The two ballrooms at Sherry's were
decked out magnificent gilded decorations and period furniture. 

Though the ball was grand and amazing, securing Hyde's position in society,
he was never the same. A lawsuit from the Equitable Society, who were
suing him because of a rumor that he had used company funds to pay for 
the ball, caused him to flee to Paris. Shortly afterwards they found out that
he had payed for the night out of his own pocketbook. He returned in 1941 to
live in a splendid penthouse at the Savoy-Plaza on Fifth Avenue for the rest of his life,
dying in 1959. 


  1. This man was an odd, impressive character, and it seems was railroaded by the Board of Equitable to get rid of him. I'd enjoy seeing any material you have on his houses, collections, etc.

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