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The Debutantes line up at the The 52nd International Debutante Ball and dinner dance

The 52nd International Debutante Ball and dinner dance was held at the Waldorf-Astoria on Friday, December 29th. Fifty-three young women of distinction made their debut, each accompanied by two escorts, a military cadet in full dress uniform carrying the flag of the debutante’s country or state, and a collegiate man in formal evening dress.  As she walked into the spotlight, marking her formal presentation to society, the Lester Lanin Orchestra played her signature music.

Consuelo Vanderbilt started it all by noting that in the jet age it’s a small world. Reminiscing about her own debut, she recalled that it took two weeks for her to get to England for her debut and another seven or eight days of exhausting travel to Paris for another ball in her honor. “Girls don’t realize what a wonderful opportunity they have today to fly around the globe to attend each other’s parties.” That remark inspired Beatrice Dinsmore Joyce to create the first International Debutante Ball in 1954. Today, Margaret Hedberg, Beatrice’s niece, continues the ball.

Miasha and Tora Fisher being presented

There were notable families represented from England, Austria, China, France, Greece, The Republic of Panama, Scotland, Switzerland, and sixteen American states.  Eight sets of sisters also debuted.  The Waldorf’s Grand Ballroom was transformed into a fairytale scene - a winter wonderland of snowflakes glistening, pink sparkling lights and silvery birch trees.  Silver embellishments festooned the balconies with pink poinsettias.

All the young women wore long white dresses and each carried a bouquet of pink roses. Pink for femininity, silver for elegance.   1000 guests filled the ballroom, most of whom were post debs, friends and family whose pride and elegance added to the radiance of the evening.

Among the debutantes was Ashley Walker Bush, daughter of Sharon Bush and Neil Bush.  Ashley is the granddaughter of President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush. She was escorted by her brother Pierce. Representing Washington D.C. was Jane Marion Mosbacher, granddaughter of the Honorable Robert Mosbacher, the former Secretary of Commerce. Regina Diane Quick, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Quick, former President of the American Stock Exchange, Katherine Elizabeth Pinto of Greenwich, daughter of John H. Pinto and the famous swimmer Donna de Varona, a double Olympic Gold Medalist in 1960, who was also the first female sports announcer for ABC. Ana Katherine and Juliet Lee Falchi from New York, are daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Carlos Falchi of handbag fame. They were just one of eight sets of sisters to debut.

From abroad: the Countess Magdalena Maria Hapsburg-Lothringen, daughter of Archduke Archduchess Markus Hapsburg-Lothringen represented Austria.From China came Miss Chloe Amanda Ho, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Joseph Ho, Chloe’s family has a long tradition of service in Hong Kong.  Her great grandfather, Sir Robert Ho Tung, was a knight of the British Empire.

The English were well represented by Lady Henrietta Seymour, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Somerset. The dukedom comes down from Henry VIII. Jane Seymour was his 3rd wife and bore Edward VI his only son and heir. Lady Henrietta Seymour’s father, the 19th Duke of Somerset, is descended from him. Quite the rebel, Henrietta came out and flipped her sunglasses on while she was walking across the ballroom floor to be presented and swished her skirt to reveal her leopard tights. The Hon. Isabella Murray whose home is Scone Palace, the crowning place of Scottish Kings, The family has called it home for over 400 years, followed.

This year the Honorary Chairmen were: Mrs. David Hamilton, Mrs. Irene Kaufman, and Mrs. Sharon Bush. The ball supports the International Debutante Ball Foundation Charities, including Soldiers’, Sailors,’ Marines’, Coast Guard and Airmen’s Club.

Cynthia and Tony Maltese

Cathy, Octavia, Natalya, David Obolensky and Parker Brickley

Pamela and Audrey Suskind

Elizabeth Thieriot, Ashley Horowitz, Jay Horowitz and family

Diana Vidal de La Ossa, Spinos Skliros, and family

Miasha and Tora Fisher (New York)

Breanna Marie Sage and Diane Quick (NY)

Kimberly Whitman with Krystal and Myrna Schlegel

Donna de Varona, Joanna Pinto, and John Pinto

Nancy Prall and Cullen Talton (FL)

Leslie and Betty Cox (Kentucky)

Heather and Caroline Cooper

Frances Cannon, with Courtney and Christen Levering

Mr. and Mrs. William Platt with Nina and Browning Platt

Leslie and Natalie Waring (TN)

Susan Gutfreund with Christina and Joe Pacetti (Dallas)

Hon. Isabella Murray (Scotland) and Lady Henrietta Seymour

Texas Gals

New York Girls

Chloe Amanda Ho (China)

Caroline van den Broek d'Obrenan and Helene de Laguice

Mia Christina Dudkiewicz Rohrer (Switzerland)

Jane Marion Mosbacher and Kelly Elizabeth Hunsaker

Mr. and Mrs. Carolos Falchi and daughters, Katherine and Juliet

Alison Grace Lively

Countess Magdalena Maria Hapsburg-Lothringen

Caroline van den Broek d'Obrenan (France)

Margaret Hedberg

Countess Magdalena Maria Habsburg-Lothringen

Holly Stafford Whitaker and Rebecca Waring Bailess

Ashley Bush being presented by Pierce Bush


Lady Henrietta Seymour

Lauren and Elise Zable

Dr. Theodore Baehr and Evelyn Noelle Baehr

Katherine Vail Crenshaw and Ben Daniel Crenshaw

Krystal Schlegel and Robert Schlegel

Courtney and Christen Levering being presented

Anna Frances Pope Cannon

Citing his long-standing commitment to philanthropy and promoting history education, Historic Hudson Valley presented Sy Sternberg, the chairman and chief executive officer of New York Life, with the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Founder’s Award, recognizing his extraordinary philanthropic and civic leadership, at a dinner and dance at the Rainbow Room last November.

In honoring Mr. Sternberg, Historic Hudson Valley is recognized not only Mr. Sternberg but also New York Life for their long-standing commitment to philanthropy and their advocacy on behalf of organizations that tell the stories of American history. Since its founding in 1979, the New York Life Foundation has donated more than $90 million to national and local non-profit organizations and operates under a simple charter: Find the most effective way to give back to the community in which it does business. 

Today, the majority of The Foundation’s resources are dedicated to helping young people through an initiative called Nurturing the Children, which supports organizations, programs, and services aimed at helping young people.

“Sy and New York Life may be new neighbors of ours, but they are old and valued allies in our goal of preserving and celebrating the history and culture of New York,” said Waddell W. Stillman, president of the non-profit Historic Hudson Valley. “Support of corporate partners such as New York Life is crucial to our mission.”

John D. Rockefeller, Jr. founded Historic Hudson Valley 55 years ago, and his grandson, Mark F. Rockefeller, a trustee of Historic Hudson Valley, presented Mr. Sternberg with the Founder’s Award. Proceeds from the gala evening will support educational programs at Historic Hudson Valley’s six sites, including Washington Irving’s Sunnyside; Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate, a historic site of the National Trust; Philipsburg Manor; the Union Church of Pocantico Hills; Van Cortlandt Manor; and Montgomery Place Historic Estate.  With a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, this living history museum presents the riveting history of 18th-century slavery in the North to 55,000 visitors a year — including 15,000 schoolchildren. Information:

The New York Life Foundation is the major vehicle through which New York Life Insurance Company channels contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations.  Through its Nurturing the Children initiative, the Foundation supports organizations, programs and services that target young people, particularly in the areas of mentoring, safe places to learn and grow, and educational enhancement opportunities.  Please visit the Foundation’s Web site at

Don and Karen Waite

Caryl and Bill Plunkett

Anita Hegarty and Sarah Mayer

Virgil Conway and Jim Gill

David Parsons and Ross Higgins

Art Samberg, Peggy Race, Becky Samberg, and David Swope

George Pataki with Laurie and Sy Sternberg

George Pataki, Arthur Imperatore, and Donna Uher

George Pataki, Mark Rockefeller, and Happy Rockefeller

Dan Slott and Molly Schaefer

Trip Dorkey and Carolyn Pilkington

Laurie and Sy Sternberg

John Cahill, Sy Sternberg, Michael Hegarty, Mark Rockefeller, and Happy Rockefeller

Sy Sternberg, Michael Hegarty, and Mark Rockefeller

Waddell Stillman, Leslie McCall, and William Wright, Jr.

Craig Miller, Managing Director of GRAFF, hosted a holiday cocktail reception at the Palm Beach salon to honor Phyllis Krock, Chairman of the 16th annual Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Discovery Ball. Ellen and Robert Jaffe, Honorary Chairmen, and several committee members were also honored. The Discovery Ball will be held on Saturday, February 17, at The Breakers in Palm Beach.

A highlight of the evening was the unveiling of the grand auction prize for the Discovery Ball -- a stunning pair of round and emerald-cut white diamond line earrings with rare pink pearl drops totaling 5.33 carats and set in platinum and 18K white gold.  The earrings are valued at $50,000.

Recognized by the National Cancer Institute as a leader in cancer research and care, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is renowned for using its discoveries to improve cancer treatment for children and adults around the world. Compassionate care and cutting-edge research are the Institute’s hallmarks, with clinical experience informing laboratory discoveries in a unique partnership.  Together, scientists and physicians are unraveling cancer’s mysteries – from the genetics that trigger the beginning of the disease to the novel therapies that will spell its end.

Among those on hand joining Mr. Miller in honoring the chairmen and celebrating the holidays were Nancy and Don Carter, Gudrun and Robert Cuillo, Carolyn and David Brodsky, Bonnie and Donald Dwares, Michele and Howard Kessler, Frayda and George Lindemann, Lee and Oscar Miller, and Norma and Bill Tiefel. The evening was held in association with Palm Beach Cottages & Gardens Magazine.

For more information concerning the Discovery Ball and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, please contact Karen M, Martins, regional director at (561) 833-2080.

Susan Markin and James Pappas

Don and Nancy Carter

Howard and Michele Kessler

Phyllis Krock and Craig Miller

Donald and Bonnie Dwares

Robert and Ellen Jaffe

A cocktail party given for the American Cancer Society of Palm Beach given by Donn and Susan Telesco at their home.

Bert Sokol, Dame Celia Lipton Farris, and Patrick Park

Rob Reveley, Rena Damone, Michele Kessler, and George Cloutier

L. to r.: Mark and Paula Cook; Dom and Susan Telesco and Patrick Park; Betsy and James Meany.

Photographs by Elaine Ubina (Debutante); Matt Gillis (HHV); Lucien Capehart (Graff & ACS).


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© 2006 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/