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Culture:American
Title:dress: bodice and skirt
Date Made:ca. 1879
Type:Clothing
Materials:textile: light brown plain weave silk (taffeta); light blue plain weave silk; brown plain weave cotton lining; silk/wool twill weave foundation skirt; machine Mechlin lace; baleen
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts (probably)
Measurements:Center Front - CF: 56 1/2 in; 143.5 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2011.13.1
Credit Line:Gift of the Estate of Mary Hawks
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield
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Description:
Wedding dress worn by Anna Louisa Berry (or Barry, b.1856), who married William Morehouse (b. 1857) of Beverly, Massachusetts, on November 27, 1879. The dress is composed of two parts; a long, basque bodice extending down to just above the hips, and a trained skirt featuring puffed folds stitched in place (known as en bouillonnee) and a low, bustled back drape. Historic Deerfield also owns a similar dress (HD 2011.13.2), attributed as a bridesmaid's dress to Barry's wedding, worn by Addie M. Hunt (b.1860). Hunt probably also wore the dress at her own wedding just four months later to Nathaniel L. Barry (or Berry, b. 1860) who was probably a relative of Anna Louisa) on March 17, 1880 in nearby Lynn, Massachusetts. The connection between the two women is unclear, though Anna Louisa Barry/Berry may be related to Hunt's husband Nathaniel. The survival of these two dresses adds much to our knowledge about late 19th-century dressmaking. Their high-quality construction and attention to detail is identical in many respects, both inside and out, supporting the notion that they were made at the same time, by the same accomplished dressmaker in the Essex County area (on the North Shore) of Massachusetts. Taste may account for some of the differences; Barry's dress is more streamlined, favoring the fitted silhouette with lower skirt bustle fashionable at the end of the 1870s, while Hunt appears to have been reluctant to give up the higher, bulkier bustle of mid-1870s skirts. Other differences probably relate to the original pairing of the two garments at Barry's wedding. The bride's dress is made from a lighter-weight silk and has discreet touches of light blue facing on the bows and pleated belt, supporting the necessary "something blue" mandate of any bride's wedding attire. Although more subdued, Hunt's dress was enlivened with a brightly-colored, dense, small-scale accent fabric with matching buttons and pom-pommed tassels. Both dresses adhere to contemporary advice on wedding attire, which suggested high necklines and long sleeves for modesty. Lace edging at collar and cuffs is machine-made Mechlin.

Link to share this object record:
https://museums.fivecolleges.edu/detail.php?t=objects&type=ext&id_number=HD+2011.13.1

Research on objects in the collections, including provenance, is ongoing and may be incomplete. If you have additional information or would like to learn more about a particular object, please email fc-museums-web@fivecolleges.edu.

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