Perfect for a crisp fall day are these two-toned heeled pumps from the 1930s. These tan suede shoes with brown alligator leather toes with perforated edging, heels and decorative bows were made by Naturalizer. Biltrite is stamped into the heel. There is decorative zig-zag stitching around the vamp opening. The covered knock-on heel is 3 inches high with the straight styling popular in the 1930s. In addition to Naturalizers, the label inside reads Plus Fit Lasts.

While similar to Spectator (or “Co-respondent” in Britain) shoes, these do not have the typical perforated wingtip or heel cap. They simply have a stitched and perforated toe cap and covered heel. Nevertheless, the two-toned construction gives the appearance of a Spectator without some of the flash, especially given the tan and brown coloring rather than the more typical white and brown (or black or blue).

Naturalizer was created in 1927 and by 1938 had a distinctive brand image. Biltrite was a rubber sole and heel company founded in 1908 in Trenton, NJ.

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

Isn’t this elegant yellow chiffon evening dress perfect for a summer party? Probably from the 1930s, the bodice is gathered to accentuate the body and the flowing skirt is enhanced with fluttering chiffon flounces attached with shirring on each side. The skirt itself is a bias cut circle – extremely popular in the ‘30s – sewn of four panels, resulting in a stylishly uneven hem. This simple but alluring design is complemented by a striking but not abrasive color, warm and cool at the same time.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our 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

What a beautiful summer hat to wear to a garden party!

This finely made straw garden party or picture hat with ribbon rosette and streamers would have right in style in the 1930s. It bears a Dunlap / New York / Extra Quality label. Dunlap was perhaps best known as a high end men’s hatter, but they certainly furnished women’s hats as well. Dunlap advertised in 1925 that they had “Agents in all Principal Cities” – and Charleston was no exception. This hat was retailed here at Snelgrove’s, Inc., a woman’s clothing shop that grew out of The French Hat Shop, 1915, owned and operated by Blanche Caughman Snelgrove (1879-1958) and her husband, Sydney C. Snelgrove. The name changed to Snelgrove’s, Inc. around 1936, but the shop remained at 258 King Street.

This stylish creation was worn by the donor, Helen Gaines Sloan Torrence (1875-1970), widow of Dr. Crown Torrence. In 1934, she lived at 30 Church Street; in 1936, her residence was listed at 27 Lamboll Street, Apartment 2. At that time, she was the Librarian at the Charleston County Free Library.

This hat is on exhibit in Fashion Accessories: Hats until January 19, 2014!

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our 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

Water Lily appliqué quilt, 1930s, made by Doris Beckman Schwettmann, Charleston, SC.

This delightful quilt has twenty-three appliquéd water lilies and lily pads surrounded by a scalloped green border, a wide white border with quilted flowers, and an outer border of appliquéd interlocking scallops. It has a white backing, thin batting and green binding. The pastel colors and minty green are very typical of the 1930s.

It is similar to a pattern published by a company like Mountain Mist®, who began printing patterns on their batting wrappers in 1930. Since it is obvious Doris was a skilled needleworker, perhaps she created her own design or used a pattern as a starting point. Her design has a variety of water lilies, while the Mountain Mist® pattern repeats the same flower. Some of the quilter’s markings are still visible under the appliqués and along the quilting lines.

Doris Beckman (1871-1950), born in Palmetto, GA, married Charleston pharmacist Dr. Frederick William Schwettmann. Her grandson, Fred J. Martschink, was the donor’s husband.

Gift of Pauline C. Martschink in 1999

Mountain Mist® is considered the original inventor of commercial filler products for quilters. They have been producing and marketing quilt batting, fiberfill and pillow forms since 1846. Their pattern collection began in 1929 when the sales manager, Fritz Hooker, decided to print patterns on the batting wrappers to boost sales. In the 1970s, the company reissued many of these 1930s & 1940s patterns on their batting wrappers and in 1998 actually published a book of these earlier patterns.

There seems to have been a resurgence of hand quilting in the 1930s, perhaps due to the hard times of the Depression. Pieced and appliquéd quilts allowed the re-use of fabric scraps into a functional, and beautiful, item. A handsome quilt provided beauty and creativity during these difficult time. The act of quilting – from sharing fabrics to quilting bees – provided a productive activity for women to share a bond of friendship. And quilt displays and contests, from local fairs to national events, often offered cash prizes, a huge incentive in those bleak years.

This quilt is on exhibit in Early 20th Century Quilts until August 4, 2013

Like this pattern? Join us for a workshop to reproduce this quilt, April 13, 20, 27, 2013.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our 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

Brown leather and suede shoes, 1920s-1930s. The tan leather piping sets off the styling of these shoes, marked Delman / New York-Paris / Southampton-Washington, D.C. The back section and high, thin, straight-sided Louis heel are brown suede, the toe is brown leather. The open cut-out and skinny straps add glamour to this simple but stylish shoe. The small, plain buckle may help date these shoes earlier in the 1920s and be some of Delman’s earlier shoes.

The Delman label was established by Herman Delman (originally Nudelman) in 1919 as a made-to-order shop on Madison Avenue, N.Y. He expanded into ready-to-wear and cooperated with many famous shoe designers, especially Roger Vivier.

Delman one of the oldest and most respected salon brands in American footwear and is still available today. His concept was to produce glamorous, innovative, and classic styles designed to flatter and help a woman move gracefully day or night.

A 1934 article in Time Magazine states that when Delman gave up his retail store on Madison Avenue in 1933 and confined himself to manufacturing, he produced 2500 pairs / week of high-end ready-to-wear shoes.

Saks Fifth Ave signed a contract to be his exclusive agency in Manhattan; outside Manhattan, Delman shoes sold in 30 cities. Delman retired in 1954 and died in 1955; the business changed hands a few times and the brand belongs to Nina Footwear Co. since 1989.

20th century stylesetters and influential women wore Delman shoes – Katherine Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Jacqueline Kennedy, Joan Crawford, and Mamie Eisenhower.

These shoes will be on exhibit in Fashion Accessories: Shoes from January 26 to June 9, 2013.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our 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

This fabulous silk crepe evening gown from 1931 is glamorous and elegant. The supple silk crepe fabric was one of the most popular choices for evening wear – it drapes and clings beautifully. The cowl neck in front is created by soft shoulder pleats and there is a small metal weight encased in silk that hangs about an inch from the center front. The back is cut deeper for maximum visual effect while dancing “cheek to cheek” and the shoulder drape adds a bit of panache. The softly flared skirt has a bias cut peplum and slits around the bottom hem. A narrow silk belt fastens with a beautiful Art Deco buckle of ivory and gemstones. The dress has a side opening that closes with tiny snaps.

This beauty was worn by Ruth Petty Pringle after her marriage to Willis Benton Pipkin in Charleston in 1931. She purchased this dress, along with most of her other trousseau items, in New York. They then lived in Reidsville (near Greensboro), NC. Ruth was born in 1910, the daughter of Ashmead Forrester Pringle and Agnes Petty of Charleston.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our 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

This summery party dress is black rayon with a large pink, red and cream floral print. It was worn and possibly made by Mary Elinor Waterhouse Hoyler (1912-1998) of Beaufort in the late 1930s or early 1940s. The flowing skirt is pieced with four bias cut panels, a technique very flattering to the body. It has a seam at the waist but is missing its belt. There is a short metal zipper in the back seam.

Mary Elinor was married to Lt. Hamilton Hoyler, USMC, who served in the Pacific during World War II. He was at Pearl Harbor and she did not know his fate for six months. After the war, he returned to Beaufort and they had three children.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our new 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

This fantastic evening gown c. 1935 is peach silk shot with silver threads and has a matching bolero jacket. While it is not labeled, it has some hallmarks of designs by Elsa Schiaparelli including the incredible pink plastic zipper in the right seam. Schiaparelli was known for her eccentric use of color and in 1933 she promoted the new plastic zipper being experimented with by the Lightning Fastener Company of Great Britain and Canada.  I’ve read that she was offered $10,000 by them in 1933 to use these zippers in her clothing. Not only did she use them, she often placed them in prominent and unexpected places on the garment and dyed them colors to coordinate with her fabrics. The short jacket or “bolero” was added to many of her designs from the 1930s.

Schiaparelli was indeed featured in clothing advertisements with these zippers. In an advertisement from Vogue (British) 14 April 1937, page 65:

“Schiap and the Zipp

Zipps on day suits, on evening gowns, on cocktail trouser suits. Zipps at front, side or back, in every colour of the rainbow, matching, contrasting…always decorative, always practical.

Schiaparelli has made plastic zipps a feature of her recent collections, and continues – as do other leading couturiers – to use them for fashion fastening.

Lightningtrademark Coloured Plastic Zipp Fastener”

These plastic zippers predate the nylon coil zippers, nylon being invented in 1935 but not used in zippers initially. By 1934, the Japanese company YKK, the US company Hookless Fastener (maker of Talon zippers) and the French company Eclair all had made plastic zippers.  The teeth on these early plastic zippers were quite large, more the size of today’s heavy brass industrial zippers, as is the one on this garment.

Another interesting feature on this dress are the little extra fabric tabs at the front neckline. They are simply tacked on – perhaps to make the rather plunging neckline more modest? Our lovely dress was worn by Serena Randolph (Mrs. Theodore Fitz Randolph) of Birmingham, AL.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our new 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

This printed rayon day dress probably dates to the late 1930s. The cross-over front bodice was a popular style as was the slender skirt and short sleeves. The huge plastic buttons add a bit of Art Deco panache to this attractive garment. The left side has a metal zipper, a fairly common closure at this time. Zippers aren’t seen much in dresses until the late 1930s and in the ‘40s tend to be replaced by other closures, conserving on metal for the war effort.

Our stylish dress was worn by Ruth Holmes Gadsden of Summerville. She was an active part of the social scene in the 1930s and 1940s.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our new 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

Light green satin evening dress, c. 1932. This stylish gown with a magnificent Art Deco design rhinestone ornamentation on the back was worn by the donor’s sister, Eleanor Middleton Rutledge Hanson (1894-1966) for her second court visit at Buckingham Palace in 1932. There is a matching shoulder cape.

Eleanor met Annapolis graduate Ralph Trowbridge Hanson at the Charleston Navy Yards and married him in 1915. His Naval service took him to many posts, including London where he served at the assistant naval attaché at the American Embassy. While in England, the Hansons were commanded to appear twice at the Court of St. James while Andrew W. Mellon was the American Ambassador.

This dress is currently on exhibit in Charleston Couture. Come visit it for yourself!

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our new 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