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Maine Memory Network

Ceremonial Garb: Commonalities

This slideshow contains 11 items
1
Finnish Church confirmation class, South Thomaston, 1933

Finnish Church confirmation class, South Thomaston, 1933

Item 10792 info
Maine Historical Society

At church all women … had the tight basque with jet or glass buttons, the cameo brooch, the black skirts that swept in the dust, the black bonnet nodding with a bit of mignonette, tied with bows under the chin, and the dotted nose veil. The black gloves were silk or lisle … the black vici-kid buttoned shoes toed out precisely.

–– Lura Beam, A Maine Hamlet, 1957


2
Main Street, Presque Isle, ca. 1915

Main Street, Presque Isle, ca. 1915

Item 31478 info
Penobscot Marine Museum

I dressed myself with a nice brown leghorn hat a nice black broad cloth coat, a pair of white Linen Pants and their calf boots, a Turn down coller a span white hankerchief Said nothing to any one and started a sabboth about church time

–– John Martin, Bangor, 1843


3
Knights of Pythias ribbon, ca. 1900

Knights of Pythias ribbon, ca. 1900

Item 48892 info
Maine Historical Society

Ceremonies ranging from graduations and religious observances to fraternal and social rituals frequently call for particular and unique adornment, for observers as well as participants.

Clothing, headwear, hair decoration, jewelry, ribbons, and other symbols of rank or achievement, along with the music and rituals, are recognizable as marking a particular ceremony.


4
Julian Rebekah Lodge ribbon, Fryeburg, ca. 1900

Julian Rebekah Lodge ribbon, Fryeburg, ca. 1900

Item 48930 info
Maine Historical Society

Members of fraternal organizations wear robes, badges, pins or other items that identify them and their rank. Graduates often wear matching robes and hats.

For christenings or naming ceremonies, babies might be dressed in long white or ivory gowns. Beauty queens often wear sashes along with crowns or tiaras.

Social norms may suggest particular clothes and accessories, but, as with other occasions for dressing up, subtle touches and additions often express individual identity, stature, or rebellion.


5
Thomas Smith family christening dress, Portland, ca. 1730

Thomas Smith family christening dress, Portland, ca. 1730

Item 48486 info
Maine Historical Society

In his journal on October 14, 1738, Thomas Smith wrote, "My wife was delivered of a son today." On the next day, Sunday, October 15, he wrote, "We baptized our child, John."

It is likely that John, the couple's sixth child, wore the dress on that day and that his siblings – and perhaps one of his parents – also had worn the dress.

The infant's dress is made from linen or fine wool and decorated with needle lace that probably came off another piece of clothing. Sometimes, lace or fabric from the mother's wedding dress was used in christening outfits.

Lace was an expensive item and the quality of the workmanship on this lace suggests an experienced, perhaps professional, lace maker created it.

The gown follows a popular adult style of the eighteenth century with a mantua style dress and a underlying bib or stomacher.

Clothing rarely survives for many generations. That the family saved the lace-decorated dress attests to its importance and value.


6
Parson Thomas Smith, Portland, ca. 1800

Parson Thomas Smith, Portland, ca. 1800

Item 48487 info
Maine Historical Society

The first settled minister in Falmouth (Portland), Thomas Smith (1701-1795) served what became known as First Parish Church for 68 years.

Thomas Smith and Sarah Tyng married in 1728. They were wealthy compared to many in Falmouth and the surrounding area the church served.

Smith's salary equaled a third of the town budget. The parsonage at the head of India Street was the only house in the city with wallpaper.


7
Man in Masonic regalia, Bowdoinham, ca. 1865

Man in Masonic regalia, Bowdoinham, ca. 1865

Item 48488 info
Maine Historical Society

An unidentified man wears Masonic regalia as he poses for an ambrotype photograph.


8
Societe des Artisans Canadiens-Francais, Lewiston, ca. 1900

Societe des Artisans Canadiens-Francais, Lewiston, ca. 1900

Item 48887 info
Maine Historical Society

Fraternal societies served a number of purposes: social, religious, charitable, educational, or mutual benefit (insurance). They often involved ritual when members wore particular costumes, ribbons, badges, pins, or sashes.


9
Masonic locket, ca. 1800

Masonic locket, ca. 1800

Item 48889 info
Maine Historical Society

Julia Stockbridge donated the ornate Masonic locket to the Maine Historical Society in 1894 with a note: "Formerly owned by Capt Bartol who was living in Portland about 1800 & who died there (probably) about 1805."


10
Franklin Grange ribbon, Woodstock, ca. 1893

Franklin Grange ribbon, Woodstock, ca. 1893

Item 48890 info
Maine Historical Society

A ribbon worn by a member of the Franklin Grange No. 124 in Woodstock features Grange symbols and the official name of the organization, Patrons of Husbandry.


11
Odd Fellows medal, ca. 1940

Odd Fellows medal, ca. 1940

Item 48891 info
Maine Historical Society

Fred. E. Jewett (1871-1949), who along with his father started the Jewett Corn Canning Co. in Norridgewock in 1910, earned this 50-year Independent Order of Oddfellows pin. Jewett, who remained single his whole life, listed his hobbies as his farm, his dairy herd, and flowers.


This slideshow contains 11 items