Dress made by Martha Willey Riley, Cherryfield, ca. 1912

Contributed by Maine Historical Society


Seamstress Martha Willey Riley likely made this dress while living in Cherryfield, where her husband John Riley was a logger and blueberry farmer.

Made of purple wool challis, it is very similar to a 1912 design by Lucille, worn by socialites in London, England. Dressing and undressing required a family member or lady’s maid to close or undo the opening’s multitude of hook and eye fasteners on the back. Given the complicated structure of dresses and prior to the advent of zips, dressmakers were adept at devising concealed openings.

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About This Item

  • Title: Dress made by Martha Willey Riley, Cherryfield, ca. 1912
  • Creator: Riley, Martha Willey
  • Creation Date: circa 1912
  • Subject Date: circa 1912
  • Town: Cherryfield
  • County: Washington
  • State: ME
  • Media: Wool, silk
  • Local Code: 2005.235.001
  • Collection: Costume collection
  • Object Type: Physical Object

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For more information about this item, contact:

Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230

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