Birthdays and surprises have been elements of celebrations for centuries, no doubt. A little card within the papers of Agnes Tully Stevens reveals that the Tully family loved a party just as much as the next Chicago family.
The honoree for this event, Mrs. John Tully, was Agnes’ mother, Catherine Malloy Tully. Though the card doesn’t indicate it, the celebration was on account of her fiftieth birthday.
No clue allows us to peek into the preparations for this gala event. I wonder whatever became of the guest list. It would have been great to see if it included any stealth relatives I’ve not yet encountered. And who was the host-in-hiding, whose property at 509 Garfield Boulevard became the assembling point for the guests, according to the handwritten instruction at the bottom of the invitation?
Was the event given by her husband, South Park policeman John Tully? Her oldest, twenty two at the time, was a son, who may have helped—although parties tend more to be the domain of the women in a family. And the oldest of the women in this family was not yet twenty. Perhaps, though, with the help of her eighteen year old sister Lily, Mary Monica could have coordinated the preparations.
Agnes, the baby of the Tully family, would have just been delighted to get to stay up late and have fun at the party. At the time her mother turned fifty, Agnes was not yet even ten.
Your presence is desired
Birthday Surprise Party
Mrs. John Tully
at her residence
607 Garfield Boulevard
Saturday Evening, Feb. 19th, 1898
Meet at 509 Garfield Blvd.