Mourning dress, Presque Isle, ca. 1860

Contributed by Presque Isle Historical Society


Wearing black to symbolize mourning the loss of a loved one dates back to the times of the ancient Greeks and Romans. In the Victorian Era (roughly 1860 - 1901 in the United States), there were very specific social standards as to when and how to wear mourning attire. The rules were established by European royalty and the "upper class" and then mimicked by others as a show of "class".

Popular journals such as Godey's Lady's Book and Harper's Bazaar reported the latest trends. The length of time in mourning and what was required to be worn depended on whether you were male or female and what relationship the deceased had to you. In the United States, a widow "mourned" for approximately 18 months. Required dress included full black attire - a dress, a mourning hat or bonnet preferably with veil, and gloves. This mourning dress while somber features beautiful soutache trim on the neck, cuff and hem as well as subtle ruffles at the hem. The ivory lace undergarment with bow at the neck is actually a Victorian "dickie".

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About This Item

  • Title: Mourning dress, Presque Isle, ca. 1860
  • Creation Date: circa 1860
  • Subject Date: circa 1860
  • Town: Presque Isle
  • County: Aroostook
  • State: ME
  • Media: Cloth
  • Object Type: Physical Object

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For more information about this item, contact:

Presque Isle Historical Society
PO Box 285, Presque Isle, ME 04769
(207) 762-1151

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