For 133 years, the Veiled Prophet has summoned its members to the annual ball with an array of colorful and intriguing invitations.

From the first bat-shaped invitation in 1878 to today’s more classically simple style, these invitations have served as an elegant formality over the years of the organization’s service. In the first years of the ball, the invitations were in full color and were often die-cut, multifold pasteboard, printed inside and out with images representing the year’s theme. Some were contained in elaborate covers and were lithographed in Paris. Also, for the first two balls, only men received the invitations, but after 1879, separate invitations were sent to women and men.

After the initial years, the invitations remained colorful, but were in general less elaborate. In the past few years, invitations have integrated some color and embellishments, but have overall been more formal and straightforward, like this year’s.

By Robyn Dexter | Photos by Sarah Conroy