Cruising The Past looks at New York debutants aboard the Homeric. With a link to Brenda Frazier and current “bows” in society.

New York debutante party in the 1950s aboard Home Line’s HOMERIC
dockside.

(Left – Home Lines S.S. Homeric at her New York pier on February 15, 1969 just before sailing to Nassau.)

The SS HOMERIC was used for society events in New York Harbor.  The ship was originally the SS Mariposa.  She was a luxury ocean liner launched in 1931; one of four ships in the Matson Lines “White Fleet” which included SS Monterey, SS Malolo and SS Lurline. In World War II she served the United States as a fast troop carrier, bringing supplies and support forces to distant shores as well as rescuing persons stranded in foreign countries by the outbreak of war.  In 1947 the ship was mothballed for six years at Bethlehem-Alameda Shipyard in Alameda, California. Her engines were overhauled by Todd San Francisco Division. Home Lines bought her and renamed her SS Homeric, sailing her to Trieste for reconstruction to allow 1243 passengers: 147 First Class and 1,096 tourist class. Gross register tonnage increased to 18,563.

Cruising The Past looks at New York society – from Brenda Frazier to today’s debutantes – with an excellent piece  by David Patrick Columbia in New York Social Diary.

Debutantes then and now…

by David Patrick Columbia – New York Social Diary

This past holiday season last month in New York also highlighted the longtime annual tradition of the debutante, young women making their “bows” in society. Interest in the ritual has waxed and waned over the past half century. Its purpose has been modified by the liberations but it has hardly gone out of style.

18-year-old Brenda Diana Duff Frazier at the Infirmary Ball, December 1938.

Thanks to George Gurley, writing in the New York Times, about a pretty Johns-Hopkins undergrad from New York named Hadley Nagel, it was a lively topic of conversation at dinners and dances and elsewhere. Ms. Nagel was making her debut at the 56th annual International Debutante Ball at the Waldorf and George’s reportage gave it a substance and an import that many have long felt that it lacked.

Ms. Nagel’s interview assured us that the assumed demise of the debutante ball is premature. For the simple reason that it serves an important purpose, especially nowadays when young women are interested in establishing themselves for their chosen paths, the workplace, and anything else that might be desirable.

Click here to read rest of story in New York Social Diary.

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About Michael L. Grace

MICHAEL L. GRACE is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. SNOOPY continues to be one of the most produced shows (amateur & stock) in America/Worldwide and has had long running productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in London's West End. There are over 100 individual productions every year. He has written movies for TV, including the award-winning thriller LADY KILLER, various pilots and developed screenplays for Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Besides co-writing and co-producing SNOOPY, he wrote and produced the one-man play KENNEDY. He produced P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD by pulitzer prize winning author James Kirkwood. He wrote the stage thriller FINAL CUT which had productions in the UK, South Africa and Australia. His one-man play, KENNEDY - THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH, was developed for HBO and has starred Andrew Stevens, Gregory Harrison and Joseph Bottoms. He has recently been involved in European productions with CLT-UFA, Europe's leading commercial television and radio broadcaster. He wrote MOWs THE DOLL COLLECTION, THE BOTTOM LINE and LAST WITNESS for German television. While in college and graduate school he worked as a foreign correspondent for COMBAT, the famous leftwing Paris daily, and as a travel writer. He visited more than 50 countries. He struggled as an actor, then joined the enemy and entered the training program at William Morris. He became a publicist and worked for Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, at Paramount and MGM. He followed with a brief stint as a story executive, working in the frantic horror genre period of the early 80s and wrote THE UNSEEN. He went onto write for episodic television and develop series pilots. He was a continuing writer on such series such as LOVE BOAT, PAPER DOLLS, and KNOTS LANDING. He developed screenplays for such major award winning directors as Nicolas Meyers, Tony Richardson and J. Lee Thompson. He has written for all the major networks and studios. He has been hired numerous times as a script doctor, doing many uncredited rewrites on TV movies and features. He is currently writing A PERSON OF INTEREST, a thriller novel, and, IT'S THE LOVE BOAT... AND HOW IT CHANGED CRUISING BY SHIP a non-fiction book dealing with how the hit TV series as a major cultural phenomenon and altered the style of cruising by ship. He was raised in Los Angeles. He attended St. Paul's, USC and the Pasadena Playhouse. He received a B.A from San Francisco State University where he majored in theatre arts and minored in creative writing. He is listed as a SFSU leading alumni. He also apprenticed at ACT - The American Conservatory Theatre. For a brief period he had intentions of becoming an Episcopal(Anglican) priest and attended seminary at Kelham Theological College in the UK. When "the calling" wasn't there, he left seminary and did graduate work at the American University of Beirut. He has guest lectured at USC, UC San Diego, McGill, Univ. of London and the Univ. of Texas on the business aspects of making a living and surviving as a writer, focusing on development hell, in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Grace is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild and former regional chairman of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He resides in Palm Springs.

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