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Exhibition: Cosmopolitan Stylings of Mildred and Madeleine Burrage

Exhibition: Cosmopolitan Stylings of Mildred and Madeleine Burrage

May 20, 2022

May 25 - September 24, 2022
MHS Earle G. Shettleworth Gallery
Also online on Maine Memory Network

Portland, ME: Cosmopolitan Stylings of Mildred and Madeleine Burrage is a new exhibition open to the public May 25 to September 24 in Maine Historical Society’s Earle G. Shettleworth Gallery. It is among a number of companion mini-exhibits that, throughout 2022, complement the two-part anchor exhibition, Northern Threads: Two Centuries of Dress at Maine Historical Society.

Sisters Mildred and Madeleine Burrage were renowned artists and world travelers. Trips to Europe, Mexico and Guatemala inspired their artwork, and solidified their shared passions for cosmopolitan and stylish attire.

Mildred Giddings Burrage (1890-1983) studied and worked as an artist in France intermittently from 1909 to 1914 and became interested in haute couture. Recounting her Parisian activities in letters home to family in Maine, Mildred admitted in 1911, "It seems as if I only write about clothes." Madeleine Burrage's (1891-1976) jewelry designs and scrapbooks, also in Mildred's papers, indicate popular fashion inspired her as well.

Mildred's papers at MHS include original drawings from Paris designers from 1928 to 1936, demonstrating her lifelong interest in fashion. MHS will display 16 of these fairly rare drawings, known as “line sheets,” in Cosmopolitan Stylings. The drawings were marketing pieces designers sent to customers around the world to inform them of the upcoming season’s styles. Typically, fashion line sheets included images, descriptions, fabric swatches, color and size options, and prices for easy ordering. During World War II, the influence of Paris fashion decreased in Maine as American fashion designers came into their own, spurred by wartime shortages and the more casual U.S. lifestyle.

MHS Curator Tilly Laskey curated the exhibit, with support from Maine State Historian Earle G. Shettleworth Jr., and Jamie Rice, MHS Deputy Director. Images courtesy of Maine Historical Society and the Portland Museum of Art. To view this exhibit, please visit for details on admission fees, timed-ticketing, scheduling your gallery visit, and latest COVID policies. Exhibit access for MHS members is free. Join before you book!

For more information:

Maine Historical Society
489 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101

Maine Historical Society preserves and shares Maine's story to enrich life in contemporary Maine.