Three debutantes, two dresses and one moment in the 200 year timeline of New Albany’s history will be one of many featured in an event at The Grand on April 6th. In a style show like no other hosted in this area, New Albany’s Living History Committee has planned a showcase of more than just fashion throughout the last two centuries. “The 200 Years of New Albany History and Styles” is about stories,” says commission Vice Chairperson, Barbara Zoller. “Anyone who came into New Albany for any period of time had a story, and those stories became part of our rich history. Characters in our show will not only wear period clothing, they will tell some of these stories.”
For the 1959 milestone, Oneita S. Phillips, Alice Phillips Miles and Yvonne Williams Grundy will reflect on a significant event consistent with the beauty, elegance and grace of these three ladies whose friendship has truly stood the test of time. These debutants were the first ladies from New Albany invited to be a part of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Cotillion held annually in Louisville, but that wasn’t the only thing memorable about 1959 for them. Alice was just finishing her freshman year in college as Yvonne and Oneita were beginning theirs. In a time where it was exceptional for women to attend college, their parents hadn’t presented them with any other option. Their father’s may have worked two or three jobs to ensure financial stability, but their mothers had gone to college in their day as well and understood the value of an education. “When I was growing up, the mindset was that we knew we were going to go to college,” says Alice. “My parents would tell me an education is something no one can take away from you. With that, you’ll be able to take care of yourself.” From that advice, Alice earned her degree as a registered nurse, while Oneita & Yvonne pursued a degree in education, with all three eventually working in the New Albany Floyd County school system.
The two cotillion dresses featured in the this year’s history and style show were worn by Oneita & Alice. While Oneita’s was from the then high end Marshall Field’s store, Alice, along with her aunt, made her cotillion dress. Over the years, Yvonne lost track of her dress, and understandably so. They were raised in time when you used everything you had and reused what you could. For example, Alice’s cotillion dress later became her wedding dress, with her aunt adding a lace overlay to it. “My mother lived through the depression. She’s likely rolling over in her grave at how people waste things today.”
Over the years, these three exceptional women have impacted New Albany’s heritage and remain active in the community and surrounding areas today. Yvonne was just named Southern Indiana Woman of the Year in 2011. In 2012, Alice received the Anna Kathryn Hickerson Award for Diversity, and Oneita was appointed in 2007 as Commissioner of the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission where she still serves today.
The public is invited to attend a lunch and style show that will highlight New Albany’s rich history and revisit some favorite childhood memories. The style show is Saturday, April 6 at The Grand, 138 E. Market St. Doors open at 10:30 a.m. and the program begins at 11. This event is sponsored by New Albany’s Living History Committee that brings the city’s history to life in a fun, educational and enjoyable fashion. This is the third in a series of three style shows this committee has sponsored as part of its contribution to New Albany’s Bicentennial Celebration.
(Story and photos courtesy of Lisa Greer.)
Tickets are $20 and include lunch, the style show and door prizes. Tickets are available by calling Patty Hughes at 812-945-7601. MasterCard, Visa and Discover are accepted. Barbara Zoller, Living History Committee member and Bicentennial vice chairperson, encourages people to purchase tickets early, as seating is limited and the two previous style shows have sold out.
For additional information on the April style show or any of the other Living History Committee’s Bicentennial Events, contact Barbara Zoller at (502) 510-1907; or Kathy Kessinger at (812) 987-2132; or log onto www.facebook.com/newalbany200.
LIVING HISTORY COMMITTEE:
All proceeds from the style show will go toward sponsoring the other Living History Committee Events for the 2013 Bicentennial Celebration. These include:
Sunday, June 23 – Vintage Bicycle Event and Parade
Saturday, Aug. 10 – Old Fashioned Day in the Park – Vintage Baseball Games played by 1862 rules
“Stories Behind the Stones” Historic Fairview Cemetery Tour – Sept. 20, 21, 27 and 28
Saturday, Nov. 9 – Historic Governor’s Ball – re-creating the 1816 ball held in honor of Indiana’s First Governor, Jonathan Jennings.