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Maine Memory Network

Stepping Out: Dressing Up

This slideshow contains 19 items
1
Maine Historical Society anniversary dinner, Portland, 1892

Maine Historical Society anniversary dinner, Portland, 1892

Item 20308 info
Maine Historical Society

I have had Mrs. Tuttle the dressmaker the past week, making me two dresses … an all wool mouselain & a nice printed muslin that I may wear to the Buckfield Rail Road Ball at the Nesinscott’s House.

–– Persis Sibley Andrews, Paris, Maine, December 16, 1848

They were dressed in white most wholly with short sleeves & many of them had spotted muslin and they looked as well as many fashioned balls…

–– John Martin on Ball at Carlton Corners, Hampden, 1841


2
Lobster dinner, Augusta, ca. 1900

Lobster dinner, Augusta, ca. 1900

Item 49602 info
Maine Historical Society

A ball, the opera, a business or social gathering – all call for a memorable outfit, distinguished perhaps by its style, workmanship, or materials.

Emulating high fashion or purchasing clothing or accessories made in Paris or another fashion center are further markers of style or stature.


3
Unidentified young man, Freeport, ca. 1910

Unidentified young man, Freeport, ca. 1910

Item 49573 info
Maine Historical Society

Even with men's attire, which often allows fewer choices of color, fabric, or style, there is finery.

Accoutrements such as watch fobs, collars, cravats or hats set a man apart and make a statement about his position in society


4
Ethel Mae Colby, ca. 1895

Ethel Mae Colby, ca. 1895

Item 48373 info
Maine Historical Society

Yet one's "best" outfit did not have to include expensive materials.

Something not worn every day or not for ordinary activity – or something with special meaning might suffice.

Stressing the importance of fitting in, Persis Sibley Andrews, newly married and living in Dixfield in 1844, wrote in her diary, "My dress was far behind the other ladies in fashion … & this I am not used to."


5
Mary King Scrimgeour dress, Lewiston, ca. 1895

Mary King Scrimgeour dress, Lewiston, ca. 1895

Item 48279 info
Maine Historical Society

When Mary King Scrimgeour (1849-1930) died in Lewiston, the newspaper wrote that she "was a woman of great refinement and her gentle, kindly nature won for her many friends."

She and Charles Scrimgeour (1841-1920), natives of Ontario, Canada, moved along with their five children to Lewiston in 1885 when Charles became master mechanic of the Bates Manufacturing Company. He was an authority on steam and electricity and helped the mill electrify.

Charles won several patents -- but so did Mary, for household inventions.

Fine quality fashionable apparel appealed to Mary Scrimgeour, whose family saved several articles of her clothing. She and her husband lived well in the factory town of Lewiston.

The two-piece cream lace and satin dress has leaf designs and details such as rosettes and peach-colored bands around the skirt. Her dressmaker, Dunton Robes of Augusta, probably made the dress following the design on the advertisement of Paris fashion.

Among Mary Scrimgeour's possessions mentioned in her will was a pair of opera glasses, suggesting one venue to which she wore her finery.


6
Paris fashion illustration, ca. 1900

Paris fashion illustration, ca. 1900

Item 48368 info
Maine Historical Society

An advertisement announces a new style, labeled "6033," on which Mary Scrimgeour's dress appears to be modeled.

The Gustave Lyon, Éditeur, logo reads, "Revue de Toutes Les Nouveautès" (report on all new styles).

On the reverse of the flyer, in black and white, are seven numbered drawings, most of which show the backs of the dresses.


7
Doris Scrimgeour shoes, Lewiston, ca. 1910

Doris Scrimgeour shoes, Lewiston, ca. 1910

Item 50321 info
Maine Historical Society

Doris Scrimgeour of Lewiston, born in 1903, was the daughter of Joseph Frank and Gretta Scrimgeour Pierce.

After the Pierces divorced in 1910, Doris' grandparents, Charles and Mary King Scrimgeour, adopted her.

She wore the button-up black shoes as a young girl.


8
Daguerreotype of Mr. Bass, ca. 1845

Daguerreotype of Mr. Bass, ca. 1845

Item 48369 info
Maine Historical Society

The portrait shows an unidentified fashionable member of the Bass family of Wilton.

The family founded G.H. Bass & Co., a shoe manufacturing firm, in 1876.


9
Printers' Union badge, ca. 1900

Printers' Union badge, ca. 1900

Item 48370 info
Maine Historical Society

Members of fraternal organizations wore badges and ribbons at various ceremonial occasions and when dressed for parades or other events. Some of the ribbons can be worn with the other side facing out as mourning badges.

This one announces membership in the Printers' Union.


10
Brothers of Longfellow Council badge, 1889

Brothers of Longfellow Council badge, 1889

Item 48371 info
Maine Historical Society

A ribbon from the Brothers of Longfellow Council, No. 675. It bears the date, "Jany 4th, 1889" on the back.

The group is part of the Royal Arcanum, a fraternal membership society that supplied insurance to members.



11
UOCG pin, Hallowell, ca. 1900

UOCG pin, Hallowell, ca. 1900

Item 48372 info
Maine Historical Society

The United Order of the Golden Cross was a fraternal benefit society that provided insurance and other benefits to members. It was the first such group to admit women on an equal basis with men.

This ribbon is from Hallowell Commandery No. 817.


12
Sarah Hudson Mellen Gilman, ca. 1824

Sarah Hudson Mellen Gilman, ca. 1824

Item 45789 info
Maine Historical Society

Sarah Hudson Mellen's stylish clothing and jewelry, captured on her miniature portrait, testify to her social position.

She was the daughter of Sarah Hudson and Prentiss Mellen (1764-1840). A graduate of Harvard, Mellen was the first chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, serving from 1820-1834. He also had been in the U.S. Senate.

Sarah married Nicholas Gilman of New Hampshire in 1825.


13
Women's dress shoes, ca. 1900

Women's dress shoes, ca. 1900

Item 50322 info
Maine Historical Society

The women's dress shoes, made of gunmetal kid, have a label from Alexander's in New York.

The wearer of the shoes is unidentified.


14
Roosevelt kindergarten, Portland, 1937

Roosevelt kindergarten, Portland, 1937

Item 4160 info
Maine Historical Society

Students at the Roosevelt School Kindergarten in Portland posed for a class picture in 1937.

While their clothing might not be fancy, it was likely most wore their "best" for the picture.


15
Girl in a blue dress, ca. 1860

Girl in a blue dress, ca. 1860

Item 26553 info
Maine Historical Society

Isabel Graham Eaton (1845-1920) of Bangor painted this portrait of an unidentified young woman, who is distinguished by her earrings, necklace, bracelet, ring, hair adornment, and the bouquet of flowers she holds.

Eaton studied with Jeremiah Pearson Hardy, who painted the portrait of the young woman in a yellow dress, which hangs to the right. Eaton worked in Boston and Bangor.


16
Quoy Wong family, Bangor, 1922

Quoy Wong family, Bangor, 1922

Item 10374 info
Maine Historical Society

Quoy Wong (1875-1974), his wife, Grace, and their children Charles, Albert, Helen, and Grace posed for a family portrait in 1922. All are fashionably attired, but the oldest daughter's hair bow especially stands out. Wong owned the Oriental Restaurant in Bangor.


17
Ethel Mallett, Miss Portland, 1927

Ethel Mallett, Miss Portland, 1927

Item 6792 info
Maine Historical Society/MaineToday Media

Ethel Mallett, about age 16, with a flapper hairdo and outfit, wears a ceremonial sash designating her as Miss Portland in 1927.

She was the daughter of John C. and Frances J. Mallett. Her father worked as a mechanic.


18
Mabel A. Adde, Portland, ca. 1906

Mabel A. Adde, Portland, ca. 1906

Item 19185 info
Maine Historical Society

Mabel Amalia Adde, daughter of Ida Ek (1870-1919) and Sven Adolphe Adde (1872-1925), posed for a portrait in about 1906.


19
George and Ethel Jewett, ca. 1920

George and Ethel Jewett, ca. 1920

Item 1050 info
Maine Historical Society

George and Ethel Jewett lean against the wall on the deck of a ship in about 1920.

George, a native of Norridgewock, was a newspaper editor and then went on to work for the Gannett Publishing Co. in New York.

In 1901, he and his new wife, Ethel Bascome of Augusta, moved to London where he opened the Gannett Trading Co.

The couple returned to the U.S. in 1924, living mostly in Atlanta.


This slideshow contains 19 items