The Washington and Lee University Fancy Dress Ball was started in 1907 by librarian Anne Robertson White. “Miss Annie Joe” organized the first ball as an event where W&L male students could enjoy a classy, dignified evening with their dates from neighboring women’s colleges (or with their “steadies” from back home…). It was originally hailed as “the social event of the season” for southern, college-aged men and women. Miss Annie presided over the ball until 1920.
Since then, Fancy Dress has been planned and organized by a committee of dedicated students with incredible faculty and staff support.
The ball was suspended during WWII and in the 1970s, but largely “the ball must go on.” Styles and campus have changed, but students still plan, decorate, and dance the night away each spring at Fancy Dress.
To learn more about the history of Fancy Dress and see pictures of Fancy Dress through the decades, please visit our History and Through the Decades pages.