The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported on the Feb. 6, 1937, Emerald Ball — the 97th — which took place at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan, sponsored by The Emerald Association, an Irish organization.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt had been invited but was unable to attend. Postmaster James J. Farley came in his stead. Roosevelt did send a message that said in part: “I know of the fine work which your organization has done for years in behalf of fatherless children and I hope the concert and ball will be a well-deserved success. I send all who attend my greetings and wish it were possible for me to attend.”
The affair netted $20,000 for orphans in the Brooklyn Diocese. The then-president of the Emerald Association, James A. Heaney Jr., wore a green silken chain around his neck, from which dangled the gold medallion of the association, the symbol of charity that has been worn by each successive president “since the good old days when the Emerald Ball was held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.”
The first Emerald Ball was held in 1839 to raise money to support orphaned children in the Diocese of Brooklyn. For 173 years, the Emerald Association has continued to raise money to assist the child-caring institutions in the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Diocese of Rockville Center, L.I. It is one of the oldest, continuously operating Catholic charity events in the United States.