Chickasaw Guards Fancy Dress Ball, March 7, 1916

Jessie Latham and Dr. Coppedge, March 7, 1916, Chickasaw Guards Fancy Dress Ball

While looking through some of the newspaper clippings and photos that my grandmother Jessie saved from the early 1900s, I found that I had a photo from a costume dress ball that Jessie described in her diary. On Tuesday, March 7, 1916 she wrote, “To-night will long be remembered as one of the most wonderful times I ever had in my life. Went to the Chickasaw Guard Fancy Dress Ball. I went with Dr. Coppedge. He was “The Dude” in an orange and black striped suit. I went as “America First” in red, white and blue. Got more compliments to-night than ever before and the whole night seemed like a wonderful dream.” Interesting that my grandmother called her 1916 costume ‘America First.’ This was shortly before America entered the War in Europe and ‘America First’ was a policy and slogan used by President Woodrow Wilson (among other presidents). A few days earlier on March 3, 1916 she ended her diary entry with “Dr. Coppedge called later to ask what sort of a costume I am going to wear to the fancy dress ball. He is going to take me. I racked my brain to-night trying to think of some-thing unusual.” Within four days Jessie (or someone) had made her patriotic costume. As far as Dr. Coppedge’s costume, perhaps it was based on the character ‘Sammy the Dude’ in the 1916 silent film Reggie Mixes In.’

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