A Guide to the Charity Ball Association of San Antonio Records, 1954-2006
In 1954 a small group of women led by Mrs. Ralph E. Fair formed the Charity Ball Association of San Antonio to give financial support to needy children of Bexar County. In the organization's first yearbook dated 1954-1955 it is stated that: "The purpose of the Charity Ball Association shall be to raise money by means of an annual ball for children's organizations that receive no support from the general community fund. Beneficiaries of the Charity Ball Association shall be chosen annually and announced by May the first preceding the ball."
With 114 founding members, the date for the first ball was set for October 28, 1954. The first meeting of the Charity Ball Association was held July 13, 1954 in the Bamboo Room of the San Antonio Country Club. Prior to the first meeting, a corporation charter had been obtained stating that the corporation was a non-profit organization without goods, chattels, lands, rights and credits of any estimated value. The charter stipulates that the corporation was to exist for fifty years, funds were to be "raised through Charity Balls and efforts other than general public solicitations," and there were to be no fewer than three members on the Board of Directors. The three members signing the charter were Dorothy Fair, Gertrude Friederich and Katherine Carter.
The first meeting of the Board of Directors met on October 25, 1954 in the Cavalier Room of the Menger Hotel. By 1955, the following year, the Board of Directors was composed of fifteen members, eight of which were men.
The total sum given to children's charities by the Charity Ball Association over its first 47 years is estimated at five million dollars. All charities are carefully screened for selection each year and while some grants may be made for a period of several years, no charity may apply for a grant in consecutive years. Revenue for the chosen children's charities is derived from four sources: dues of the sponsors, profits from the Ball, sales from raffles of prizes that have been donated to the Ball, and profits from the Rotogravure placed in the San Antonio newspaper. The Rotogravure contains professional photographs of the organization's members in formal attire taken at landmark locations and businesses in San Antonio. Funds from the Rotogravure are raised from corporations who financially sponsor individual pages in the Rotogravure, which is published in the San Antonio newspaper prior to the Chrysanthemum Ball. In addition, beginning in 1993 the organization issued a calendar date book, proceeds from the sale of which added to the millions donated to local children's charities.
Sponsors/members are limited to 125 and are dedicated to raising funds for the children of Bexar County. While remaining faithful to the precepts of the founding members, some of the guidelines in giving have been changed over the years to reflect technological advancements. The purpose of the Charity Ball Association is now "to raise money by means of an annual ball for not-for-profit children's organizations in Bexar County. Beneficiaries of the Charity Ball Association shall be chosen annually and announced at the May Sponsors meeting preceding the Ball."
Source:The Founding of The Charity Ball.Box 1,Charity Ball Association of San Antonio Records, MS 105, University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.
The collection documents the Charity Ball Association from its beginning in 1954 up to the last five years, with the bulk of the materials concerning the annual Chrysanthemum Ball to benefit children's charities in Bexar County. The collection does not contain administrative records, but consists primarily of artifactural materials from the organization's annual event. Records of the Chrysanthemum Ball include an invitation, Rotogravure and menu/program (when available) for each year. Each invitation is unique in design and provides information on when and where the event was held, charities the event benefited, names of officers, Board of Director members, past presidents, chairmen and co-chairmen, sponsors, associate founder sponsors, non-resident sponsors, credits for decorations and music, and prizes awarded. Invitations from earlier years were hand delivered in fitted Boxes. Invitations from 1956-1957 and 1964-1965 are adorned with plastic or silk flowers. Of note is a special commemorative invitation issued in 1994 in honor of the Ball's 40th anniversary. The Rotogravures contain a series of professional photographs of Charity Ball members posing in formal attire at various landmarks and businesses in San Antonio. The Rotogravure is published each year in the San Antonio newspaper preceding the Chrysanthemum Ball. In 1980 the Rotogravure changed its look from newsprint to a magazine style format. Newsclippings on the Chrysanthemum Ball are included for the years 1954, 1958, 1977, 1981 and 1996. Date books are included for 1993 and the years following.
In addition to two written histories of the organization, a summary printout of information kept in the organization's database recounts for each year the president, Ball location, orchestra, theme, menus, invitations, prizes, new sponsors, resignations, number of guests and charities. Photo albums include an album given to the Cavendar Family of the cars they have donated to the Ball as prizes for each year covering 1955-1982. The Southwest Health Center assembled a photo album for the Charity Ball Association to thank them for the renovations they were able to make using funds raised from the Chrysanthemum Ball. Also included is a photo album containing at least one image digitally reproduced on paper of the decoration themes from each Chrysanthemum Ball. Each photograph of past presidents shows all available former presidents through that year. The images also appear in print form in the Rotogravure publication.
This collection is housed at UTSA's Main Campus and must be accessed via the John Peace Library Special Collections reading room. To request access, please use the Collections Request Form.
Permission to publish material from the Charity Ball Association of San Antonio Records must be obtained from University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections. However, UTSA does not hold copyright on the professional photographs and permission must be sought from the photographer.
[Identification of item], Charity Ball Association of San Antonio Records, MS 105, University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.
The bulk of the materials in this collection were donated by the Charity Ball Association of San Antonio in November, 2000 (Acc. 2000-037), with annual additions, 2000-2005 (Acc. 2002-002, 2003-002, 2004-010, 2005-008, 2006-007, 2007-004, 2008-004, 2009-006, 2010-003, 2011-001).
Processed by Toni Jeske, March 2001, and subsequently by UTSA Special Collections staff.
Detailed Description of the Collection