Most of this material pertains to the frequent luncheons, teas, and cocktail and dinner parties McIlhenny hosted in the vast ballroom of his Philadelphia townhouse. Usually these affairs were given for visiting diplomats, artists, museum directors, and other prominent professionals and socialites. Many were held in connection with special events occurring in Philadelphia at that time, such as an exhibition opening, lecture, annual association meeting or concert. The folders contain various materials created in the process of party planning, such as engraved invitations, guest lists, telegrams, menu and staffing notes, invoices, and individual guest replies. The bulk of material dates from the mid-1960s to early 1980s. The "Parties" folders document a number of events from a particular year, while most of the folders that follow pertain to individual events. Of note is the 1974 dinner McIlhenny co-hosted with the Walter Annenbergs in honor of Princess Margaret and her husband the Earl of Snowdon. Some of the party details documented include a proposal for floral decorations throughout the house, orchestral arrangements, and vintage wine and champagne selections with specific serving instructions. Unexpected in comparison is the grocery order including boxes of Ritz and Wheat Thins crackers and instant potatoes. Nonetheless, according to a letter from the Princess's equerry, the guests of honor were more than pleased, "and if the truth be told, the superb dinner was one of the highlights of [their] entire North American tour!" The celebration of McIlhenny's 70th birthday is the one event he did not host, and most of the material in that folder consists of thank-you telegrams. The last two folders entitled "Invitations" and "Memorabilia" also pertain to events to which McIlhenny was invited. The invitations date from the early 1980s and, therefore, can only be a sampling of the types of affairs McIlhenny was asked to attend. The memorabilia folder underscores McIlhenny's international social standing, and consists of a special pass to Westminster Abbey for the 1953 coronation rehearsal, an invitation to meet Queen Mary in 1939 at a reception held at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and a program from a 1979 dinner at a Philadelphia hotel in honor of the British Consul-General. The many times McIlhenny had individuals and groups to his house to view his collection and home are documented in the "Visitor requests" folders in the "Subject" subseries of the "Art collection" series.
Henry P. McIlhenny Papers : VIII. Other subjects : A. Social events
Subseries A. Social events
Date:1939, 1942, 1950-1983Scope and Content NoteArrangement
Chronological, with multiple event "Parties" folders preceding individual event folders. Folders identified by material type end the subseries.