Libraries & Spaces
Mardi Gras at Georgetown: Letting the Good Times Roll in 1876
Students have been celebrating Mardi Gras at Georgetown for well over 100 years. Traditionally, the celebration consisted of dramatic entertainment, a masquerade ball, and a dinner. The festivities lasted well into the night.
The first printed reference to these celebrations can be found in the March 1874 edition of the Georgetown College Journal, which describes that year’s festivities (sometimes described as Carnival or Shrove-Tuesday). It is likely, though, that these celebrations took place for many years before this first mention in the Journal. Each year a committee of students was constituted to handle the planning of the event, which included arrangements for costumes, sets, music and decorations as well as food and printed programs. The programs included a wealth of information about the night’s festivities, from performers down to the appetizers served at dinner.
The earliest program in the University Archives dates to 1876 and can be seen below. A recap of the evening was published in the April 1876 issue of the Georgetown College Journal. To learn more about Mardi Gras at Georgetown contact the University Archives!
--Ann Galloway, Assistant University Archivist