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Wedding DressWedding Dress
Silk faille and satin, wool flannel, swan’s down
American, 1868
Gift of Mrs. Bruce Maxwell, 85.53.1

“[Hoops] have obtained a complete triumph, not withstanding the fair wearers occupy two, or even three times as much space as they did formerly. That only increases their importance in the world.” … Graham’s Magazine, 1856.

Women’s skirts steadily grew in volume through the first half of the nineteenth century. Previously, the silhouette of the skirt was maintained by wearing multiple petticoats. By 1856, the use of watch spring steel enabled the creation of a lightweight support over which the dress would rest. This cage crinoline or “hoop,” a technological novelty, was exploited by dressmakers to swell the volume of the skirt to proportions that were targets of mockery.

This dress and jacket were the wedding ensemble worn by Louise Gertrude Jacobs when she married Harry G. Reyner, September 17, 1868 in Macon, Missouri. The dress and jacket have multiple cord and knot closures known as frogs. Decorative braiding is a common decoration on military uniforms and as used on this gown may reflect a residual influence from the Civil War.

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