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The most lavish holiday event is, arguably, the Veiled Prophet Ball on Dec. 22 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  People mingled well the other day in front of the hotel, that is unlike another nearby inn where it’s suspicious.  The Gideon Bibles are on chains. One person came from a hometown that doesn’t have a town idiot.  The people take turns.  The
classified phone book had one page.  Another came from a poor town, where the doctor’s stethoscope has a party line.  They chatted and eyeballed the planners streaming in and out for the ball.   One of the ball’s yesteryear matrons of honor, who dropped by for a peek,  is so fancy, friends joke she has Perrier on the knee. Some wealthy VP Order members made money the old-fashioned way – they inherited it.  But, the columnist hardly ever knocks the rich. I never got a job from a poor person. In the old days, it was fashionable for some to knock the VP.  Not today, because of its goodwill to our town.  With almost 2,000 members, who each pay an annual membership fee of $1,000, much of the money goes to help support: the St. Louis Public Schools; Habitat for Humanity; the Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club; Operation Brightside and housing.  The young women who make their debuts at the ball are required to serve three years of community service before they take their bows this year in the direction of Veiled Prophet Joe Imbs.


  • waynebrasler says:

    What amazes me is how the Ball looks EXACTLY the same as it did 60 years ago, right down to the Bengal Lancers. How they manage to keep the evening so classy and classic and also make sure everyone has a good time (that was always part of the Ball) I can’t imagine. The Queens and Special Maids of Honor also are the same. Lovely young women gorgeously gowned, smiling and enjoying the experience, and then after they are crowned few are ever heard from again. It’s like they vanish into the Forgetten Land of VP Queens.
    Except, of course, the 1946 Queen, who went on to reign as the queen of St. Louis, which as far as I can tell she still is. That is what a brain, a vivid personality, a great sense of style and even better a great sense of humor will do for ya! Im sure if Miss Desloge ever met Princess Diana, Princess Diana was the one who curtsied.

  • Lynn D says:

    Since when do they tell who the Veiled Prophet will be or is?!?! I always remember it as a well-kept secret.

  • Wayne Brasler says:

    When I wrote about the great Anne Desloge December 9 I had no idea she had just passed on. I was appalled the Post-Dispatch did not do a major story on her–she holds a huge and unique place in St. Louis history, not the least of which was her being an independent woman far ahead of her time who traveled widely, was charitable in the most intelligent and imaginative ways, was smart, fun and a fashion icon of great independence. What newspaper could resist such as story? The Post evidently. The obituary which did appear the family paid for and then later a brief piece by Deb Peterson appeared on the P-D website. You can find photos of Anne Desloge being crowned Veiled Prophet Queen in 1946 on I wish the gown were more visible. It was incredible, right out of “Arabian Nights,” designed by the great Harbison. Anne clearly had no intention of looking like a debutante wearing a crown. In one of her usual strokes of genius, when she contributed the gown to the Missouri Historical Society decades later, she had it photographed on a black mannequin! That said a lot without her saying anything.

  • Theron says:

    The passing of Anne Kennett Farrar Desloge Werner Bates really should have merited greater coverage in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but what can you do? Deb Peterson’s report even mispelled her ancestor Firmin René Desloge’s middle name, and made little mention of her father, Joseph Desloge Sr., or the estate, Vouziers, at which she and her siblings grew up. Nor was there any real discussion of her life; the report was quite perfunctory. It is a bit shocking to see the name of the Veiled Prophet (Joseph F. Imbs III, Priory 1970) revealed on here, or anywhere, but it’s also a sign of how things change. The last time the VP was so widely revealed, it was via an unmasking, in the revolutionary 1970s. How things change, and how, as Mr. Brasler notes, they stay the same!

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