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

These little white satin wedding slippers were worn by Maria Willard Grayson, the daughter of Hon. Williams J. Grayson, at the time of her marriage to Dr. Thomas Louis Ogier in 1833. They are very stylish for the period, being square toed slippers with long silk ribbons to tie around the ankle and a tiny ribbon bow on the vamp opening. The flat sole is thin leather. They were made as straights, but one is marked “Droit” for the right. This marking, including ”Gauche” for left, is often seen in early shoes. They are also marked in ink “M. W. O / 1833” for the original owner. Her granddaughter Julia Lynah McCoy, gave the shoes to the Charleston Museum in 1937.

In the early 1800s, women abandoned high-heeled shoes and began to wear less embellished leather or silk slippers. These remained fashionable until the middle of the 19th century. Our pair bears a label from the shoemaker, Esté / M. Cordonnier, Tient Msin de Souliers / de Femmes et Enfans, &c / Rue de la Paix No 13. / Près celle revue St. Augustin / Paris.”

Esté was a well-known shoemaker or cordonnier in Paris, as early as 1821. The Esté (and later Viault Esté ) are the most commonly seen labels in museum collections.  By 1838, Viault either bought into or married into the business and the label became Viault Esté.

While it is possible that Marian purchased these shoes in Paris, they might have been imported to Charleston, a bustling city with an array of fashionable shoe establishments.

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

Perfect for the June bride - a wedding parasol carried by Miriam Todd at her marriage to Evander Roderick McIver in Charleston, April 20, 1910.

The cover is cream silk with satin-stitch floral embroidery. It has a bamboo shaft, ivory ferule and rib tips and an etched ivory handle. This handle is carved to depict the three wise monkeys: Mizaru covering his eyes, Kikazaru covering his ears and Iwazaru covering his mouth. Around the monkeys are acorns, insects and grass. The red character has not yet been identified, but the monogram on the end of the handle is “M T,” presumably for Miriam Todd. The closing mechanism is marked “HOKEN.”

Parasols were not common wedding accessories, even when they were at their peak of popularity. This one may have been used at an outdoor wedding, or perhaps for the going-away outfit. Regardless, this delightful Japanese parasol would have made a wonderful April fashion accessory.

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 lovely wedding dress was worn by Cornelia Milam who married Leslie Gladstone McCraw on June 15, 1928 in Sandy Springs, SC. The dress was made by Cornelia’s mother, Hattie Pickett Milam. It is cream silk chiffon with lace yoke and lovely lace ruffles around the skirt and overskirt. Short, in 1920s fashion, the hemline dips in the back. The stylish low waistline has shirring on the bodice and gathers on the skirt. It has a side opening on the left with snap closure. The bridal veil of tulle is very fragile and not shown, but her cluster of wax orange blossoms and buds still exists, as do her lace and orange blossom shoe ornaments.

The wonderful wedding party photographs allow a peek at the dress and the bride as they look in 1928.

These were given to the Museum in 2010 by Cornelia’s daughter, Ann McCraw Nelson.

June Brides… surprisingly, based on the collection at the Museum, in earlier years most weddings weren’t in June. Other months seem to have been more popular, at least until the 1920s.

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

 Orange Blossoms

Orange blossoms have long been associated with weddings and brides. Tracing back to the Greek and Roman gods, they were symbols of fertility, purity and loveliness. In Greek mythology, Gaea, the earth goddess of fertility, presented Hera with orange blossoms on the night she wed Zeus. Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage and guardian of women, was said to have received orange blossoms from Jupiter.

In ancient China, where orange trees grew in abundance, the flower was used in bridal arrangements and in wedding tea – as emblems of purity, chastity and innocence.

During the Crusades, both the custom and the plant were brought from the East to Spain, then to France, and on to England. These trees became popular in royal and secular gardens from the 16th century on. In Crete, the bride and bridegroom were sprinkled with orange flower water; in Sardinia, oranges were hung upon the horns of the oxen that pulled the nuptial carriage.

Perhaps the popularity of orange blossoms as bridal flowers relates to the fact that orange trees are evergreen and capable of blooming in all seasons, are very prolific, and they bloom even as they bear fruit.  Their heady aroma is mysterious and romantic. There were even orange groves here in Charleston.  18th century Charleston merchant and botanist, Robert Pringle, was successful with his large plantation of orange trees covering the area now bounded by Tradd, King, Broad and Logan Streets. The Orange Gardens only lasted about 20 years, but provided many delicious oranges and undoubtedly many orange blossoms for wedding bouquets. Pringle shipped gallons of orange juice along with bags of dried orange peel to London. In 1747-8 over a million oranges were exported from South Carolina.

Today’s Orange Street was cut by Alexander Petrie when he subdivided the area into lots in 1767 and is a reminder of those fragrant gardens.

Queen Victoria is sometimes credited with bringing this tradition to later brides. As queen, she could have chosen any number of priceless diamonds for her veil in 1840. She chose instead a wreath of orange blossoms to signal that she was marrying as a woman, not as a monarch. This romantic notion was quickly adopted by English, European, and American brides, remaining a tradition for many decades. Brides even before Victoria selected orange blossoms for their wedding attire. Miss Mary Hellen, when marrying President John Quincy Adams’ middle son, “looked very handsome in white satin, orange blossoms and pearls” for her White House wedding in 1828. Orange blossoms for weddings continued well into 1950s. Jacqueline Bouvier wore orange blossoms in her lace tiara for her 1953 marriage to John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Silk brocade dress, 1842. The skirt is set onto the bodice in flat pleats, with the skirt slightly fuller in the back. Elizabeth Mary Lesesne Blamyer wore this dress at her wedding to Henry Wigfall (1821-1858) on February 24, 1842 at Saint Paul’s Church.
HT 3071  The Charleston Museum

Silk brocade dress, 1842. The skirt is set onto the bodice in flat pleats, with the skirt slightly fuller in the back. Elizabeth Mary Lesesne Blamyer wore this dress at her wedding to Henry Wigfall (1821-1858) on February 24, 1842 at Saint Paul’s Church.

HT 3071  The Charleston Museum

Cotton muslin dress, 1806, embroidered with delicate floral sprigs. The front bodice of dress has two straps to attach to shoulders. The back extends to the front and hooks under the bustline. The short sleeves originally had a tiny drawstring to pull them into little puffs.  Sarah Elizabeth Ellison wore this dress when she married James Adger in Winnsboro, SC in 1806. 

HT 748 The Charleston Museum

This 1853 Chimney Sweep quilt bears signatures and dates of ladies from Sumterville (now Sumter), South Carolina, 1851-1853. It could have been made for a young bride leaving town and moving to Charleston, where the quilt was later found.  This quilt is currently on exhibit in Threads of War: Clothing and Textiles of the Civil War.
The pieced Chimney Sweep pattern was very popular for album or friendship quilts in the mid-19th century, probably since a name or inscription could be written in the central cross of each block. Each contributor would sew a block of the pattern in fabrics of her choice and the recipient could add sashing, like the brown print used here, a border perhaps, and then quilt the finished product.
Related program: Public Quilting Bee  Quilters will be working on a reproduction  of this Chimney Sweep album quilt on a traditional quilting frame. Museum guests of all ages are encouraged to sit with our experienced quilt volunteers and give hand quilting a try, or just observe.Third Saturday of each month (through at least Sept 2011), 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
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 1853 Chimney Sweep quilt bears signatures and dates of ladies from Sumterville (now Sumter), South Carolina, 1851-1853. It could have been made for a young bride leaving town and moving to Charleston, where the quilt was later found.  This quilt is currently on exhibit in Threads of War: Clothing and Textiles of the Civil War.

The pieced Chimney Sweep pattern was very popular for album or friendship quilts in the mid-19th century, probably since a name or inscription could be written in the central cross of each block. Each contributor would sew a block of the pattern in fabrics of her choice and the recipient could add sashing, like the brown print used here, a border perhaps, and then quilt the finished product.

Related program: Public Quilting Bee  Quilters will be working on a reproduction  of this Chimney Sweep album quilt on a traditional quilting frame. Museum guests of all ages are encouraged to sit with our experienced quilt volunteers and give hand quilting a try, or just observe.Third Saturday of each month (through at least Sept 2011), 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

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