Memories of Cotillions Past

Large group photo: Taken at the home of Dr. John Hill TIlley, includes Marian TIlley, Joyce Bobo, Dick Hunt, Mildred Bouton Gaston, Mary Ellen Coverdell, Tish Hicks Eskew, Jimmy Hicks, Jamie Dean Bradshaw, Robinson Sandifer, and Alan Ross McClain.the home of Dr. John Hill TIlley, includes

Living in the Past… Long, white, beautiful gowns and impeccable manners combine to create the backdrop for a Cotillion Party with members
of the Wilson County Cotillion club.

Large group photo: Taken at the home of Dr. John Hill TIlley, includes Marian TIlley, Joyce Bobo, Dick Hunt, Mildred Bouton Gaston, Mary Ellen Coverdell, Tish Hicks Eskew, Jimmy Hicks, Jamie Dean Bradshaw, Robinson Sandifer, and Alan Ross McClain.the home of Dr. John Hill TIlley, includes Living in the Past… Long, white, beautiful gowns and impeccable manners combine to create the backdrop for a Cotillion Party with members of the Wilson County Cotillion club. Cotillion members would meet four times a year to show off newly acquired social skills and mingle at the Grand Ball held at the historic Mitchell House on the former Castle Heights Military Academy campus.

Life courtesies, protocol, dancing and dining were enjoyed by all. At the 1952 Summer Ball, the students had the occasion to show off manners and share company with existing and new members.

How to sit, stand, greet and escort were just a few of the skills mastered along with table manners and ballroom dancing in the Wilson County Cotillion Club during its hayday in the 1950’s. During tenure in the Club, students would practice more than 100 social skills, including the allimportant dining etiquette.

One of the young ladies included in this photo paints a picture of a much sweeter moment in time. Mildred Gaston Bouton grew up in Lebanon and remembers fondly all the preparation that went into preparing for a Southern Girls all important “coming out” where she is introduced to
society. “It was the best students who were top picks for colleges and social clubs. At that time, college admission officers judged applicants on both social skills and academics.”

Bouton explains, “The life courtesies taught in Cotillion are invaluable to young ladies. It was a different time but I wish girls today had the opportunity to have a coming out like we did. It’s just a special time.”

Who knows? Maybe one day Cotillion Life will return to Wilson County but for now we have to enjoy it “Living in the Past.”

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