The Lawn Party

Nebraska was a rough-and-tumble place in 1876. But many women settlers here did their

best to live a “genteel” life–as much as conditions would permit. Great energy and effort

went into the planning of refined social gatherings, such as this July lawn party held in the

infant Capital City:

“One of the happiest affairs it was ever our pleasure to attend was the lawn party given last

evening at the residence of Mrs. J. D. Monell on 18th Street, corner of H. We doubt if there

are any grounds in the city as suitable for an entertainment of this kind as those of Mrs.

Monell and the way in which they were laid off on this occasion showed excellent

management on the part of the ladies.

“The ice cream and other refreshments were kept on the north side of the lot, and tables were

placed along the side, where all kinds of suitable refreshments were served. A plank walk

was put down leading around the south side of the house, and there a fine platform for

dancing, 30 x 50 feet in size, was erected. On the east side of the lot was a brilliantly lighted

promenade. In fact the whole of the grounds were brilliantly lighted by railroad station lamps

and locomotive headlights. Dr. Converse, of the Midland, Mr. Hamblin, of the B. & M., and

Mr. Millar, of the A. & N. were each pressed into service, and loaned a locomotive headlight

for the occasion. These shed abroad over the grounds a brilliant light, which was further

heightened by the aid of a number of Chinese lanterns hanging from the trees.

“A quartette consisting of Misses Candee and Irwin and Messrs. Alford and Jones sang some

pleasant selections in the open air, Miss Carrie Sessions presiding at the organ. Little girls

sold bouquets and nearly all the ladies and gentlemen took advantage of the opportunity and

provided themselves with button hole bouquets.

“On the south side of the house a neat representation of Rebecca at the well was erected with

a handsome Lincoln Rebecca presiding thereat, and many a Lincoln Jacob drank therefrom.

Only the fair hands of the Rebecca aforesaid gave him lemonade instead of water.

“Dancing commenced at a seasonable hour, a portion of Pryor’s orchestra furnishing the

music. The evening was so pleasant and the scene so beautiful outside, that nearly everybody

remained outside, and nearly everybody in the city was there. Mrs. Monell and the other lady

conspirators are to be congratulated over the brilliant success of their undertaking.”

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History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
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