Caller: “Good morning. I have an unusual question. In 1972 I attended an event that the South End Historical Society held. It was a Ball at the Back Bay railroad station. Do you know the date that the Ball was held that year?”
Me: “I’m not sure, but I can find out. May I ask why?”
Caller: “I met my husband there. This year marks the 40th anniversary of that date.”
Me: “May I have your name?”
Caller: “My name is Lael Montgomery.”
I told her I’d search and call her back.
I went into our archives and, surprisingly, found one copy of the 1972 Ball invitation (at left and above). The date: January 28th, 1972. I hadn’t expected to find one. We’ve held forty-five balls and we don’t have invitations saved from many of those years.
We have a few pictures from our balls but nothing from 1972. However, I knew that sometimes the Boston Globe wrote articles about our early balls. Knowing it would be a long shot, I looked for any reports of the 1972 ball in old issues of the Globe. And, to my astonishment, I found an article about the ball with a large picture of three women. The caption reads: “BUBBLY AT THE BALL: Janet Chute, Catherine Hinds, and Lael Montgomery (left to right) celebrate at the South End Historical Society ball at the Back Bay railroad station last night.” (See image above right).
I called her back and told her I found the invitation, which I scanned and sent her a copy of, and a Globe article with her picture on it.
Lael replied, “I remember that article; my father called me the next morning and asked me if I had seen the Globe yet.”
We chatted a bit about the event and about the transportation. Many of the guests, Lael included, took the train from downtown Boston into Back Bay station, where they disembarked (Back Bay station image at left, 1973, courtesy of Richard Card, South End Historical Society). Some dressed to match the ball’s Victorian theme. Other passengers, on their way through Back Bay station, must have been astonished to see the ball attendees on the train cars, headed to a dinner and dance.
Lael sent me a picture (see below- Lael and husband Jon), and a few days later, she emailed me to let me know that they celebrated both their 40th anniversary of meeting and her birthday with a party, complete with centerpieces of enlarged 1972 ball invitations.
So happy anniversary of meeting to Jon and Lael! I’m glad that our 1972 ball (and our 6th, I believe) holds such a special place in your hearts!
Our 46th annual ball will take place on Saturday, April 28th, at the Lenox Hotel, corner of Exeter and Boylston Streets. At this “Venetian Masquerade,” guests are encouraged to don masks. Along with food, drink, dancing, and our silent auction, we will award prizes to those with the most beautiful, unique, and creative masks.