Kresge Library

Oakland University  Glyndebourne Picnics

(page under development)

The picnics  were a major  fund raising project of the Oakland University Friends of the Library organization.  They were patterned after the picnic dinners that took place in England at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera in  East Sussex.   The picnics were sometimes held in a tent, on the grassy lawn near Meadow Brook Hall or in the former riding stables.  Party goers would dress in evening gowns and dress suits or tuxedos;  table settings would be  lavish with fine linen, crystal and silver.  Participants arranged for their own food and haute cuisine was the standard for the gala.   Fresh flowers and elaborate decorations created a special ambiance.   A live orchestra provided both background music and also dance music for the small dance floor.  Elegance  was paramount.    

First Picnic:

Date: 1968
Theme: My Fair Lady
Honorary chairs: Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Diehl Jr.
Amount raised:   $2,117
Clippings, news releases:
Memorabilia (posters, favors, decorations)

Other information: The first Glyndebourne Picnic was held in the year 1968 and was hosted by the Friends of the Library. The purpose of the picnic was to raise money for collections that were to be added to Kresge Library’s book supply. The collections were sought after and very expensive; because of this the Glyndebourne Picnic was a formal affair and the tickets were expensive. It was held in a tent on the grass lawn near Meadow Brook Hall. Guests arrived dressed in black tie apparel and with their own food. The table settings consisted of fine linen, crystal and silver. The affair was decorated with live flowers and other ornate decorations. To complete the formal ambiance, a live orchestra performed while guests danced on the dance floor. Every year the theme of the picnic changed. The first picnic’s theme was My Fair Lady. The picnic would not have been a success if it had been for the honorary chairs, Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd H. Diehl Jr. The first picnic raised a total of $2,117, the proceeds of which went towards the purchase of Early English literature, 16th and 17th centuries.

Second picnic

Date: May 24th 1969
Theme: Camelot
Honorary chairs: Mr. and Mrs. George Pierrot
No. in attendance
Amount raised: $2,700
Clippings, news releases:

Memorabilia (posters, favors, decorations: invitations
Other information: The second picnic took place on May 24th 1969 in the Meadow Brook Riding Ring. Since the first picnic proved to be a success, the honorary chairs Mr. and Mrs. George F. Pierrot wanted to live up to the high standards set by the previous picnic. The second picnic was successful and raised a total of $2,700 which went towards the purchase of microfilm of the New York Times through WWII. The theme was Camelot.

Third picnic

Date: September 12th 1970
Theme: Brighton Pavilion
Honorary chairs: Mr. and Mrs. James B. Theodoroff
No. in attendance: 300
Amount raised: $3,210
Clippings, news releases: The Eccentric June 11th 1970 Detroit News
Memorabilia (posters, favors, decorations: invitations

Other information: The saying “three times the charm” described the third picnic perfectly.  The honorary chairs, Mr. and Mrs. B. James Theodoroff put in plenty of time and effort in trying to make the picnic both productive and entertaining at the same time. The indoor riding ring was decorated with the color scheme of kelly green and white and included real greenery that was to give the picnic a Moorish atmosphere. Consequently, the theme was Brighton Pavilion. The picnic took place on September 12 th, 1970. Three hundred guests were in attendance and they raised an amount of $3,210, the proceeds of which went towards purchasing the English literature of 18th century.


Compiled by Nicole Sheard as part of her English Dept. Internship at the Oakland University Archives.

Created on 12/12/06 by Linda Hildebrand / Last updated on 8/25/13 by Linda Hildebrand
Oakland University

Oakland University, Kresge Library
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