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Galveston.com  Rosenberg Treasure of the Month: March 2019 - Galveston's 1938 Mardi Gras Celebration


page title: Rosenberg Treasure of the Month: March 2019 - Galveston's 1938 Mardi Gras Celebration
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Rosenberg Treasure of the Month: March 2019 - Galveston's 1938 Mardi Gras Celebration

Updated 83 days ago

The theme of Galveston’s 1938 Mardi Gras was “A Court in Old England,” and it was described as “one of the most beautiful” Mardi Gras celebrations to date by the Galveston Daily News.  Participants wore garments in the style of 15th century English royals made of colorful silk, brocade, and velvet adorned with embroidery and jewels.

Mardi Gras coronation program, 1938
[GIFT OF MRS. WILLIAM LAWDER]

During the two days leading up to Ash Wednesday (February 28 – March 1), a variety of events took place on the island.  A downtown parade was held in honor of King Frivolous (Charles Grainger Dibrell, Jr.) at 8 p.m. on February 28.  Afterwards, a public dance was held onboard USS Somers, and members of the king’s court attended a ball at the Hotel Galvez.  The following day, the Kiwanis Club hosted a luncheon for the crew of USS Saranac, and both USS Somers and USS Saranac were open for public tours during the afternoon.  A coronation and masquerade ball was held at the City Auditorium at 8 p.m. that evening, with Miss Catherine Evans being crowned Queen of Mardi Gras.  At 11 p.m., a crowd of 500 guests gathered at the Buccaneer Hotel for the Queen’s Ball.

Invitation to the Mardi Gras Queen’s Ball held on March 1, 1938
[GIFT OF MRS. WILLIAM LAWDER]

Saralin (Barclay) Lawder was a princess in Galveston’s 1938 Mardi Gras court, and in 1982, she donated an original costume sketch, program, and invitation from that event.  These items are now preserved in Rosenberg Library’s permanent museum collection.

Sketch for the medieval Mardi Gras costume worn by Saralin Barclay. Barclay was a princess in the 1938 royal court.
[GIFT OF MRS. WILLIAM LAWDER]

The Treasure of the Month is located on the library’s second floor near the East Entrance.  It can be viewed during regular library hours, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday.  For more information, please contact the Museum Office at 409-763-8854 x. 125 or visit us on the web at Rosenberg Library's website.

 

Article written by Galveston.com

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