Wedding Dress of Margaret A. Heminway

Brief Item Record

Title: Wedding Dress of Margaret A. Heminway

Date: 1854

Description: Dress of cream silk taffeta; lining made of off-white polished cotton; crinoline silhouette; boned bodice, barrel-chested, princess seams in back, three waist darts in front; high neckline, finished with fine piping of about 1/6"; cap sleeves with two ruffles; boning at center back and through the front; brass hooks and eyes at center back; piped waistline; very full skirt, required hoop skirt; floor length; at the waistline cartridge pleats in back and knife pleats at front; "Margaret A. Heminway's Wedding dress, married June 21, 1854" handwritten on the boning inside bodice; dress was hand-stitched.

Full Item Record

Dublin Core

Identifier

VC1992087

Title

Wedding Dress of Margaret A. Heminway

Description

Dress of cream silk taffeta; lining made of off-white polished cotton; crinoline silhouette; boned bodice, barrel-chested, princess seams in back, three waist darts in front; high neckline, finished with fine piping of about 1/6"; cap sleeves with two ruffles; boning at center back and through the front; brass hooks and eyes at center back; piped waistline; very full skirt, required hoop skirt; floor length; at the waistline cartridge pleats in back and knife pleats at front; "Margaret A. Heminway's Wedding dress, married June 21, 1854" handwritten on the boning inside bodice; dress was hand-stitched.

Date

1854

Subject

Clothing and dress

Extent

31 inches (chest), 22 inches (waist), 56.5 inches (center front length), 56 inches (center back length), other measurements: Hem = 2 yards; 35

Type

Physical Object

Spatial Coverage

Temporal Coverage

Rights

http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-EDU/1.0/

Is Referenced By

For Better and For Worse

Rights Holder

© Vassar College Costume Collection. Images in this collection may be used for teaching, classroom presentation, and research purposes only. For other reuse, reproduction and publication of these images, contact costumeshop@vassar.edu.

Costume Item Type Metadata

Cataloguer with Date

Arden Kirkland 4/18/1993; Turpin, Thompson, Boesche, Starr 3/3/2010; Alexandra Figler, 1/24/14

Color Main

Technique

Dress Type

Closure

Closure Placement

Sleeve Length

Waistline

Skirt Type

Length

Costume Components

Chest

31

Waist

22

Center Front Length

56.5

Center Back Length

56

Measurements Other

Hem = 2 yards; 35

All Measurements

31 inches (chest), 22 inches (waist), 56.5 inches (center front length), 56 inches (center back length), other measurements: Hem = 2 yards; 35

Label

"Margaret A. Heminway's wedding dress, married June 21, 1854" handwritten on boning inside bodice

References

Bonder 385 (1850-60) Bradfield, 195-6 91856-7) Collard ???, plate after p. 21 (1861) Fe;ger 8 (1854, 1855) ???

Date Earliest

1854

Date Latest

1854

Culture

Gender

Classification

costume
clothing

Category

Function

Exhibitions

Vassar Girls and Other Women

Public Information

One of the fascinations of this dress comes from the fact that the bride's name is recorded on the inside of the dress, with 'Margaret A. Heminway's wedding dress, married June 21, 1854'handwritten in ink on the boning inside the bodice. Genealogical records indicate that she married Alfred W. Sansbury in Palmyra, New York. Their daughter, Mary Louise Sansbury, married Herbert Elmer Mills who became Vassar Professor of Economics in 1890. Although the date of this dress precedes the founding of Vassar, this piece is in exquisite condition and therefore serves as a valuable example of the early crinoline period. The fullness of the crinoline skirt is balanced with simplicity elsewhere in the dress. While the mere size of the skirt would serve to focus attention on the bride, allowing her to take up a great deal of space on her very important day, the absence of elaborate trimmings would not draw further attention away from the bride's own beauty.

Condition Term

very good

Condition Description

detached pleats at center front; staining at armpits, mostly at interior; discoloring near hooks and eyes

Treatment

The padded wooden mannequin was re-shaped and re-padded to better fit this dress. A net hoop skirt was dressed on the mannequin to provide a foundation garment, but the shape was too conical and not rounded enough at the top, so tissue paper was inserted between the hoop and the skirt fabric to round out the shape over the hips and soften the edges of the metal hoops underneath (as a proper petticoat would have done).

Mannequin

Margaret

Storage Location

B1

Exhibition Notes

from 'Vassar Girls and Other Women: 1854-1925'exhibition, June 1993: 24 1854 ivory silk taffeta wedding dress of Margaret A, Heminway 1992.87 Handwriting on the boning inside the bodice of the dress reads: 'Margaret A. Heminway's wedding dress / married June 21, 1854.' In this, dress, the fullness of the crinoline skirt is balanced with simplicity elsewhere in the dress. While the mere size of the skirt would serve to focus attention on the bride, allowing her to take up a great deal of space on her very important day, the absence of elaborate trimmings would not draw further attention away from the bride's own beauty. Although the date of this dress precedes the founding of Vassar, as the earliest documented object in the VCCC, this piece is in exquisite condition and therefore serves as a valuable example of the early crinoline period.

Work Type

Citation

“Wedding Dress of Margaret A. Heminway,” Vassar College Costume Collection, accessed June 14, 2024, https://vccc.vassarspaces.net/items/show/759.

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