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