|Ivana and Donald Trump with Gayfryd Steinberg; April 1987.|
|Friday, May 18, 2018. The constant light rain stopped yesterday afternoon about five, the Sun came out and dried us off while the temp rose to 70. A perfect day.
Wednesday night while JH was searching for images of Tom Wolfe to post on yesterday’s Diary, he came upon a Diary from April 2011 that is a treasure trove of photographs of Mary Hilliard’s taken 31 years ago at the annual PEN dinner that was a milestone — “a PEN dinner to beat all previous PEN dinners…”
At the time it caused a lot of scuttlebutt and yet it established a format and an image that has remained to this day, and we’ll see evidence of it this coming Tuesday when PEN holds its annual fundraiser at the American Museum of Natural History. It’s a lookback reminding us of many things and many people, and its creator still enjoys her ability to innovate and effect change ...
These were heady times. It was the Reagan Era, well-established by now. Prosperity was flashing wealth around New York that hadn't seen such grandeur since the turn of the century. The leaders, with very few exceptions, were the young women like Mrs. Steinberg.
They got a lot of attention. In previous times, a PEN fundraiser might have been readings by an important author in some Broadway theater. The money raised was used to help writers and to promote freedom of expression and freedom of speech. This charter remains. However, since that milestone event at the Metropolitan Club, PEN dinners have been fancy affairs that have grown in size.
That April night they raised between $200,000 and $250,000 – an impressive sum for such an event in those days.
At the time, she took a lot of flak in the press about it, but Gayfryd Steinberg raised the bar for PEN for keeps. Today, it remains one of the "important" benefit galas on the annual social calendar. It's still fancy, although perhaps in a more austere, less theatrical way. (Mrs. Steinberg has since transferred her signature of style to the annual New York Public Library Literary Lions dinner.)
|Because of its illustrious membership, PEN also still draws a fair share of the deep pockets and well-heeled who make up what is regarded as "society" in New York today.
This party, however, was pure spectacle for those New Yorkers who attended (or just read about it). Mary Hilliard was there to photograph, and this is her archive of the event.
|Madeleine L'Engle, Art Buchwald, Arthur Miller, and|
|Dotson Rader and Pat Lawford.|
|Norman Mailer and Joyce Carol Oates.|
|Jerzy Kosinski and Elaine Kaufman.|
|Erica Jong and Tom Wolfe.|
|Norris Church, and Inge Morath.|
|Elaine Kaufman and Donald Trump.
|Cathy Quinn and Mark Goodson.|
|Jill Krementz and Kurt Vonnegut.|
|Barbara Walters, Alan Greenspan, and Arnold Scaasi.|
|Linda and Mort Janklow.|
|Jay McInerney, Jerzy Kosinski, and Frances Fitzgerald.|
|Shirley MacLaine and Gayfryd Steinberg.|
|Kathleen Hearst, Paul and Mai Hallingby, Kitty Carlisle Hart behind Hallingby.|
|Bill Cunningham.||Bianca Jagger and Gayfryd Steinberg.|
|Jerzy Kosinski, Nina Griscom, and Blaine Trump.
|Gayfryd Steinberg with Robert and Blaine Trump.|
|Saul and Gayfryd Steinberg with Vartan Gregorian.|
|Gayfryd Steinberg and|
|Shirley MacLaine and Erica Jong.|
|John Guare and Adele Chatfield-Taylor.|
|Allen Ginsberg and Frances Fitzgerald.|
|Alan Greenspan and Barbara Walters.|
|Arthur Schlesinger and David Mortimer.|
|Carolyne Roehm and Jim Hoge.|
|Arnold Scaasi,and John Sargent.|
|Iris Love, Susan Sontag, and Carter Burden.|
|Saul Steinberg and Brooke Astor.|
|Kitty Carlisle Hart.|
|Margaux Hemingway and Stewart Sundlun.|
|Jay MacInerney, Gayfryd Steinberg, and Susan Burden.|
|Alexandra Schlesinger, Norman Mailer, and Jean Stein.|
|Carolina Herrera and Robert Hughes.|
|Mai Hallingby, Pete Hathaway, Erica Jong, and Paul Hallingby.|
|Alan Greenspan and Liz Smith.|
|All photographs by Mary Hilliard.|