This lovely dress was the wedding dress of Anne Porcher Mazyck (1820-1881) who married Gabriel Manigault (1809-1888) on November 4, 1846. The sheer organdy dress has a pleated and ruched bodice, extending into a point below the waistline where the full skirt is tightly gathered. Around the lower portion of the full skirt is a band of beautiful floral embroidery. The round neckline and short sleeves are trimmed with gathered tarlatan; the sleeves also have two narrow bands of silk braid. One sleeve even has a tiny white leather orange blossom bud pinned on. The entire garment is lined with cream silk. The hooks and eyes are missing from the back opening.

While extremely yellowed with age (and remnants of original starch), the dress is still charming in its feminine silhouette, so popular during the 1840s.

Anne was the daughter or Philip Porcher Mazyck and Mary Stanyarne of Charleston. Her husband, Gabriel, was the son of Joseph Manigault and Charlotte Drayton, also of Charleston. He was born in his parents’ house in Wraggborough, now the Joseph Manigault House, open to the public and operated by the Charleston Museum. Gabriel was a staunch supporter of the Confederacy, a signer of the Ordinance of Secession and a Colonel during the war. Several years after the war, he moved his entire family and some other relatives to London, Ontario, to escape a life under Yankee domination.

They had six children, including Edward Middleton Manigault who married Harriet Winstar Barnwell. They were the parents of Ann Mazyck Manigault, who donated the dress to the Museum in 1960.

**The dress will be on display at the Joseph Manigault House for the special Women’s History Month tour tomorrow, March 26, 2014.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

In honor of Charleston Fashion Week, we take a look at an interesting, and very fashionable, 1870s dress. This gold silk two-piece dress is embroidered all-over with turquoise stars. Slim-fitting in front, the skirt pulls back to accommodate the popular bustle, dwindling a bit by 1876 after rather extravagant fullness in the earlier ‘70s. Throughout this period, trimmings abounded on dresses, this one having contrasting turquoise collar, puffed oversleeves and wide sashing down the front, culminating with a wide belt and mother-of-pearl buckle. The skirt is ornamented with a wide satin band around the hem and two lines of corded lacing, ending in glorious tassels.

This lovely dress was worn in Charleston by Frances Olmsted Marshall (1845-1929). She was the daughter of Episcopal minister, Aaron F. Olmsted and Caroline C. Cook. Frances married Richard Maynard Marshall of Charleston in 1872 and had five children. The dress came to the Museum from her granddaughter, Alida Dana Canfield Sinkler in 1957.

The dress was given with a second bodice, much plainer but with delightful star covered buttons down the front. Studying this bodice, one sees that the sleeves have been cut off as has the bottom of the bodice, raw edges still showing. The style of this bodice appears to date to the 1860s rather than 1870s – the jewel neckline, the double vertical darts in front and the center front fastening from neck to waist. What if Frances had a much plainer dress in the 1860s, complete with very full skirt (and lots of beautiful starry fabric) and had it remade into a more stylish gown for the 1870s? The sleeves could have been re-used, with any problems or shortness concealed by the blue silk oversleeves, and a new bodice constructed using some of the bountiful skirt fabric. The addition of the dazzling blue silk, lacing and bustle rendered the garment totally new – and in style – years later.

On exhibit in Fashion in Fiction, October 19, 2013 to April 6, 2014

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

Basket-hilt sword
Drury, Drury & Son Swordcutters and Goldsmiths
London
1770-1780

Because of its readily recognizable full-cage or “basket” hilt, which completely enveloped and thus protected the user’s hand from all sides, the Scottish-heralded basket hilt pieces became common among the highlanders sometime in the late 16th century. By the 17th and especially 18th centuries, however, their popularity had spread throughout Britain and into continental Europe. These swords (sometimes also referred to as a “backsword” for the blade’s flat back edge) furthermore became a decorative symbol as well as a formidable one, the weight of the hilt, thickness of the blade and balance overall convincing most mounted cavalry units – Napoleon’s for one – to carry them while in action. 

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes.

Pert and pretty and definitely green, this 1950s cocktail dress would be perfect for a St. Patrick’s Day party. Jade green chiffon over green taffeta, the full skirt has a green net petticoat for the stylish bouffant look of the day. The boat neckline softly drapes over the shoulders, echoing the cummerbund-style waistband. The ballerina length was popular in the 1950s as was the V-style back neckline. It has a label: Lorrie Deb / San Francisco, a clothing line first launched in November 1950.

This dress was worn by a daughter of Alvin Arthur & Frances Cains Burbage of Charleston, probably Mary Frances, who was born around 1940.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

For March – Women’s History Month – we have chosen this incredible appliqué panel, probably made by Martha Cannon Webb Logan around 1840. She, of course, may have worked on it for a number of years. The long panel (17 inches by over 17 feet long) depicts Charleston as a seaport city, from detailed sailing ships, carriages, goods and animals, to stately houses. It was undoubtedly planned in a different format (a bed quilt perhaps), but was cut apart and portions reassembled by a later family member. The original maker’s use of fabrics and appliqué combine to create a fascinating folk art montage.  

Martha (1783-1843) was the daughter of William Webb and Margaret D’Oyley.  She married William Logan in 1819. The quilt pieces passed to her granddaughter, Martha Webb “Patty” Logan and then to her niece, Alice Logan Wright who gave it to the Museum in 1977, in memory of the many generations of Logans who have served the town, the province, and the country.

In 1990, Sandi Fox at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art included this piece in her exhibition and book, Wrapped in Glory: Figurative Quilts & Bedcovers 1700-1900, in which she postulates both the maker of the quilt piece and her sources for many of the individual motifs. Just recently, a new study has been taken on by Brenda Rousseau of Colonial Williamsburg and Kathleen Staples, an independent researcher, to try to figure out what might have been the original format for this intriguing piece.

Need to zoom in a little closer? Click here for a bit larger view.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

Naval officer’s sword
Unmarked
Continental Europe
1850-1860

Captain John Morris Wampler, chief of engineers at Battery Wagner, carried this non-regulation 1841 pattern piece featuring an eagle’s head pommel, leather-covered grip and folding guard, this formidable saber. Customary to some officers, Wampler had his name engraved on the scabbard’s middle brass band. 

Assigned to General Pierre G.T. Beauregard’s staff, Captain Wampler returned to Charleston just in time for the disastrous summer of 1863 and the Federal siege of Battery Wagner. A surveyor by trade, Wampler directed the construction ancillary batteries, bombproofs and powder magazines within Wagner all the while under near-constants artillery fire. Sadly, it was inside one of his bombproofs (or semi-submerged, reinforced interiors capable of withstanding indirect shelling), where he died instantly upon a direct hit from a Union gunboat on August 17, 1863.

Wampler’s remains were returned to his native Virginia later that month and were buried in Union Cemetery in Leesburg. Preserving his sword for the next 31 years, his widow, Kate, presented it to the City of Charleston on September 11, 1894.

Author’s note: many will recognize this as the cover piece on The Charleston Museum’s brochure around town

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes.

Fashions of the 1970s were definitely over the top, as evidenced by this stunning aqua evening dress. It is overlaid with aqua chiffon covered with large abstract floral designs – some painted, some appliquéd colored taffeta (pin, blue, purple, yellow and lime green) edged with gold metallic embroidery and embellished with gold sequins and rhinestones. It has a high corded waistline, popular for the period, with a slightly gathered long skirt. The bodice is only partially lined, leaving the long sleeves and upper bodice sheer. It has a zipper closure in back and bears a label: “Elinor Simmons / for Malcolm Starr® / Made in The British Crown Colony of Hong Kong.”

This amazing dress was worn by Alice LeMacks Patrick here in Charleston to the wedding of Robert Lockwood and Jean Louise Schill on August 22, 1970. Alice had been given this dress by Blossom Krawcheck, of Krawcheck’s Ladies Companion Shop at 313 King Street. This was part of the fashionable Jack Krawcheck men’s clothing business, originally opened in 1922 and closing in 1995, long after his death.

Malcolm Starr (1924-2008) was head of the popular American ready-to-wear company started by his father in the 1940s. He was one of the first to lease factories in India and China for manufacturing and operated boutiques in Hong Kong and Japan. After his father’s death in 1969, Malcolm ran the business until 1976. One of the designer names associated with Malcolm Starr was Elinor (Rizkallah) Simmons from the early 1960s until 1972. Their simple lines were often enhanced by elaborate beading and embroidery, the work done in Hong Kong.

This dress is currently on exhibit in Fashion Flashback: 1970s (January 18 to April 27, 2014)

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

These two designer bags were made in 2003 and signed by Charleston designer, Mary K. Norton. They were retailed under her Moo Roo / Charleston label at her shop at 316 King Street. 

The black satin purse with three fabric magnolias is entitled Southern Lady. The stiff fabric bag has a flap over the font, closing with a magnetic button. It is lined with black satin. 

The flamboyant ostrich feather bag is entitled Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The flowing feather extend beyond the bottom of the bag. It is open at the top with a small flap to close with a magnetic button and the bag is lined with black satin.

Mary K. Norton founded her company in 1998; within eight years it grew to international proportions and locations. She created handbags and shoes for the stars. Her whimsical yet sophisticated designs appealed on many levels and found favor with both red carpet stars and stylish clients. Her boutiques were forced to close in 2009, but in 2010 she restarted her Moo Roo brand and is now even back on King Street at Art Mecca of Charleston.

Both bags are on exhibit in Fashion Accessories: Purses January 25 – April 27, 2014

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

Maynard Carbine
Massachusetts Arms Co. 
Chicopee, MA
1857

As southern secession and even a possible war against the Union became more realistic by the late 1850s, many southern governments looked to bolster their armories. Thus, as demand for both edged weapons and firearms spiked around the country, arms production became big business – and not just for gunsmiths. Practically anyone with even a remotely practical idea on how to gain a battlefield advantage through superior firepower could cash in, and from the mid-1850s through to the end of the Civil War, an influx of firearm alterations, gadgets, gizmos and other weaponized curiosa emerged.

One such offering was the Maynard Carbine, named for its inventor, a New York dentist named Dr. Edward Maynard, whose southern advertising campaign emphasized ease of use:  “Nothing to do with a Maynard but load her up, turn her north, and pull the trigger; if twenty of them don’t clear out all yankee-dom than I’m a liar…” The ads worked. Southern armories ordered about 1,600 of these first-model, breech-loading pieces prior to secession, and the Confederate Congress placed an additional order of 1,000 guns for assorted Cavalry units throughout Virginia and the Carolinas.

Carrying a nickname of “pop-gun,” the Maynard was anything but. It was an efficient weapon to say the least. Factory warranted to fire 12 rounds per minute with an effective range of 1600 yards, it was simplistic in its workings as a breechloader and, moreover, utilized brass cartridges. But, despite its overwhelming popularity, the Maynard had its shortcomings. The lack of a forward stock, for instance, forced the shooter to place his hand on a bare metal barrel, which after six or so rounds became quite hot to the touch. More of a liability, however, was its paper tape primer (similar to toy cap guns still around even now). In an effort to cut down on reloading time, Maynard devised a rolled length of tape embedded with multiple mercury fulminate capsules. Unlike the single-shot percussion caps, however, these capsules were embedded at measured intervals inside the tape and would automatically feed into place when the hammer was cocked. 

To be fair, Maynard’s paper tape priming system worked great - at least until it started raining. Despite its varnishing, the tape roll still proved unreliable in damp conditions, and was soon replaced with the standard metallic percussion cap action. 

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

Get ready for Valentines Day with this gorgeous red velvet dress from the 1920s. Perfect also for a set on Downton Abbey, the red silk velvet sheath dress has a wide self-belt or sash trimmed with long copper beaded fringe. Beading and sequin ornamentation embellish the neck, armholes and front center along with wonderful stylized flowers all over the skirt. The dress simply slips over the head with no additional opening or fasteners, but the skirt is slit up the front, concealed by the wide sash.

This fashionable garment bears a label from Adair / 4 Cité Paradis / Paris and was made probably in the mid to late 1920s. The House of Adair made beaded dresses in France for export to the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. Their peak of production was in 1924-1925, closing their doors in the 1930s.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday