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

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.

Satin wedding dress with matching jacket, 1938. Worn by the donor’s mother, Winton Chandler of Greenville for her marriage to James N. Sellers of Charleston in 1938, the simple dress is enhanced by wide cap sleeves and shirring at the waist. The long-sleeved jacket has twenty-one covered buttons and loops.

2000.36.2 The Charleston Museum

Ivory satin dress, 1921, with silk embroidered vine and tiny faux pearl “grapes.” The scalloped apron of embroidered netting is attached with satin bows. Portions of the bridal headpiece bear wax flower buds and faux pearls. The skirt is short, reflecting the style during the 1920s. This dress was worn by the donor’s mother, Annie Kangeter (1896-1990) who married Dr. Charles D. Boette, April 14, 1921 at her home in Charleston. Annie’s sister, Mamie Pfaehler made the dress.

2005.37 The Charleston Museum

White satin dress, 1914. Brussels lace trims the neckline along with clusters of pearls, glass beads and brilliants. The silk net veil is gathered to a band with wreath of wax orange blossoms. Silk stockings, kid gloves and satin pumps accompany the dress. The ensemble was worn by Wilhelmine Dorothea Meyer (b. 1888) for her marriage to Adolf Gevert Hollings in 1914. She was the mother of Senator Fritz Hollings of Charleston. Please be sure to scroll through the photo set as we fortunate enough to have Mrs. Hollings’ bridal portrait, shoes and orange blossom spray. 1986.53 The Charleston Museum

For more about the tradition of orange blossoms (and Queen Victoria’s contribution to the fad), check out this video with The Charleston Museum’s curator of textiles.

Blue wool wedding suit, 1910. This tailored suit bears a label from Louis Cohen & Co., Charleston, S.C. and was worn by the donor’s grandmother, Alma Grace Van Keuren (1891-1984) when she married Louis Johnson Stackley on August 17, 1910 in Kingstree, SC. They had a morning wedding and then caught the train to Baltimore for their honeymoon. Louis Cohen is listed as a Dry Goods & Department Store on King Street from 1880 – 1924 in the City Directories.
2005.60.1  The Charleston Museum

Blue wool wedding suit, 1910. This tailored suit bears a label from Louis Cohen & Co., Charleston, S.C. and was worn by the donor’s grandmother, Alma Grace Van Keuren (1891-1984) when she married Louis Johnson Stackley on August 17, 1910 in Kingstree, SC. They had a morning wedding and then caught the train to Baltimore for their honeymoon. Louis Cohen is listed as a Dry Goods & Department Store on King Street from 1880 – 1924 in the City Directories.

2005.60.1  The Charleston Museum

Cream satin dress, 1891. The bodice is trimmed with beads and pearls, the skirt has a gathered ribbon with satin bows. Miss Lily Cheney wore this lovely dress when she married William Wallace Moore on December 20, 1891. 

HT 882 The Charleston Museum 

Plum silk taffeta two-piece dress, 1883. This stylish outfit has a second bodice, with plaid velvet lapels and cuffs, a feature that would extend the usefulness of this dress. It was worn by Mrs. James F. Condon for her marriage on April 27, 1883.

HT 4378  The Charleston Museum

Starched organdy dress, 1865. Typical of mid-19th century styling, the very full skirt was worn over a hoop petticoat and is further widened by layers of ruffles. The starch used on this garment has discolored it over time.  This dress was worn by Marianna Heyward (b. 1844) when she married Benjamin Walter Taylor on December 14, 1865. They had eight children, including early 20th century artist Anna Heyward Taylor.  During the Civil War, Benjamin had served as a surgeon, becoming the Medical Director of the Calvary Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia. 
HT 802 The Charleston Museum

Starched organdy dress, 1865. Typical of mid-19th century styling, the very full skirt was worn over a hoop petticoat and is further widened by layers of ruffles. The starch used on this garment has discolored it over time.  This dress was worn by Marianna Heyward (b. 1844) when she married Benjamin Walter Taylor on December 14, 1865. They had eight children, including early 20th century artist Anna Heyward Taylor.  During the Civil War, Benjamin had served as a surgeon, becoming the Medical Director of the Calvary Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia. 

HT 802 The Charleston Museum

The broad, scooped neckline along with a low, pointed waist over a very full skirt emphasize the tiny waist so fashionable at the time.  It was worn by Louisa Jane Dearing who married Henry Edmondston (1834-1896), December 1859. Also pictured is Henry’s white satin wedding vest is embroidered with lovely floral sprays.

HT 4525 and HT 2755 The Charleston Museum