Bradley – Martin costume party was reputed to be the most expensive party of modern times costing approximately $9.7 million today. Coming at the end of the depression from the Panic of 1893, the extravagance of the ball generated great publicity throughout the country. Guests were required to come in historic costumes. Invitations were sent on short notice so that they would have to buy their attire in New York which was supposed to stimulate local business. And the Waldorf was transformed into a version of Versailles. Nearly 800 members of the New York Society showed up. A guest list was compiled and published in the New York Times three days and the historical characters they were going to impersonate and what costumes they were going to wear. Mrs. Bradley-Martin's was Mary Stuart and her husband was attired as Louis XV. The event was a great success socially. However, there was considerable political fallback as the authorities raised Bradley-Martins taxes; they ended up leaving New York and retiring to a castle they owned in Scotland.
Party, Feb 10, 1897
Reputed to be one of the most expensive parties of its time.