International Debutante Ball

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The International Debutante Ball is an invitation-only, formal debutante ball to officially present young ladies, often from upper-class families, to high society. Founded in 1954, it occurs every two years at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.


Waldorf Astoria Hotel
58th International Debutante Ball, 2012

The International Debutante Ball presents young ladies, often from upper-class families, to high society.[1] It was founded in 1954 by Beatrice Joyce,[2][3] with the first ball being held at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.[4] The second ball saw it move to the Hotel Astor.[5] With the Astor scheduled for demolition,[6] the 1966 ball was held for the first time in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel,[7] which continues to be the venue.[8] Previously held annually,[5][9] it is now held every two years.[8] The ball donates money to charity, principally the Soldiers', Sailors', Marines', Coast Guard and Airmen's Club of New York, a social club for members of the United States Armed Services.[3]

Each ball is preceded by a number of events, dinners and parties for the debutantes, including the Bachelor's Brunch.[10][11] At the ball, each debutante is usually escorted by two men: one military cadet and one civilian.[12][13] It is by invitation-only;[14] debutantes are usually recommended by a previous debutante or their parents, although ultimately the selection is performed by Margaret Hedberg, the founder's niece, who has run the Ball since 1983.[2]

The ball is considered one of the most prestigious debutante balls in the world.[8][15] Young women, both from the United States and abroad, are brought together at the ball and the surrounding parties, including daughters of Presidents of the United States, diplomats, nobility, ambassadors and governors.[15]

Notable past debutantes[edit]

Cultural references[edit]


  1. ^ "Daughters of High Society Attend Debutante Ball in New York City". ABC News. 31 December 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Gowns, Hair Spray and the Texas Dip: Debutante Season". The New York Times. 28 December 2006. p. 2. 
  3. ^ a b "Glamour Still Rules, but With Fewer Debutantes". The New York Times. 30 December 2008. 
  4. ^ "DEBUTANTE BALL ASSISTS CRUSADE; First International Fete, at Plaza, Is Benefit for the Wooden Church Drive". The New York Times. 24 November 1954. 
  5. ^ a b "28 YOUNG WOMEN BOW AT FETE HERE; Presented at 2d International Debutante Ball for Benefit of Joint Veterans Fund Introduced by L.P. Tower Many Entertain Guests". The New York Times. 2 January 1957. 
  6. ^ Ken Bloom (2007). Routledge Guide to Broadway. Routledge. p. 15. 
  7. ^ "57 Debutantes of 12 Nations Make Bows; 1,000 Attend Fete Televised From the Waldorf". The New York Times. 30 December 1966. 
  8. ^ a b c "The Über Glamorous Debutante Balls We Wish We'd Been Invited To". Marie Claire UK. 3 December 2013. 
  9. ^ "33 MAKE DEBUTS AT BENEFIT BALL; 19 Americans and 14 From Other Countries Presented at International Fete". The New York Times. 31 December 1957. 
  10. ^ "N.J. debutantes prepare for International Debutante Ball". 2 December 2008. 
  11. ^ "Glamour Still Rules, but With Fewer Debutantes". The New York Times. 30 September 2008. 
  12. ^ "Better Off Deb Scenes from the biggest coming-out party of the year". New York Magazine. 20 August 2013. 
  13. ^ "Sixty Years of Stepping Out at the International Debutante Ball". The Wall Street Journal. 30 December 2014. 
  14. ^ "Women Draft Dates For Debutante Ball". The New York Times. 30 November 1997. 
  15. ^ a b "Debutante Ball in New York City". Rome News-Tribune. 4 March 2007. 
  16. ^ "PATRICIA PRIEST IS FUTURE BRIDE". The New York Times. 8 May 1955. 
  17. ^ "40 Debs Bow At Gala Ball". St. Petersburg Times. 2 January 1962. 
  18. ^ "For Tricia and Ed it's no secret". Life magazine. 22 January 1971. p. 21. 
  19. ^ David Eisenhower; Julie Nixon Eisenhower (2010). Going Home To Glory. Simon & Schuster. p. 210. 
  20. ^ Krohn, Katherine E. (2009). Vera Wang Debutante. USA Today. p. 18. 
  21. ^ "58 Women Make Formal Bows to Society". The New York Times. 29 December 1978. 
  22. ^ "For Debutante Cornelia Guest, Living Well Is the Best Revenge". People magazine. 11 October 1982. 
  23. ^ "The Debutante Returns, With Pearls and Plans". The New York Times. 1 January 1997. 
  24. ^ "Debutantes in movies: Stars of stage and screen". 20 June 2015. See picture 5 of 12. 

External links[edit]