Party of the Century: Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball

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Party of the Century: Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball

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Title: Party of the Century: Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball
Author: Rodman, Sarah Jane
Citation: Rodman, Sarah Jane. 2014. Party of the Century: Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: Party of the Century: Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball is a cultural history exhibition designed to transport museum visitors back to Capote’s masked dance held in New York City on November 28, 1966 in the Plaza Hotel’s Grand Ballroom. The interdisciplinary installation aims to reanimate host Truman Capote (1924-1984), author of Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958) and In Cold Blood (1966); his honoree, Katharine Graham (1917-2001), President of the Washington Post; and the convergence of 540 attending guests who traveled from around the world for the candlelit festivities. Few people stood in a more central position in the mid-1960s than Capote, one of the most well-known writers in his life time (Plimpton, “T.C.” 300). His acquaintances and networks spanned disparate realms: partygoers were accomplished and interesting people from all walks of life who influenced the world around them in profound ways. In the gallery, cross-media displays—assembled from archives and museums as well as public and private collections—highlight the party’s fashion, glamour, guest list, music, and reverie as well as establish the historical context of what was going on in the world at large. By examining the people who played a part in this once-in-a-generation gathering, visitors come face to face with the cultural, political, and social dynamics concurrently evolving over the 1960s decade. The evening’s legacy endures and continues to resonate: people now refer to the Black and White Ball as a touchstone for its time. A prototype, as imagined, the exhibition will open at a metropolitan museum with plans to travel afterwards to other venues.
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:13041037
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