Victorian-era cotton dress, ca. 1855

Contributed by Maine Historical Society

Victorian-era cotton dress, ca. 1855

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This record was added to Maine Memory Network through the efforts of a student at University of Southern Maine. More info about student projects.


In the 1850s, cotton became more widely available, and was fashioned into stylish women's dresses. The fabric is patterned with connected amoeba and oval shapes on a plaid background. The popularity of plaid grew during Queen Victoria's reign due to her interest in the countryside, and a particularly romantic view of Scotland.

It's likely that the woman who wore this dress used petticoats, layers of underclothes, and a corset and pantalettes underneath, for both style and modesty's sake.

While born too late to have actually worn it, Mildred Merrill Howe, of Portland and Sommerville, Massachusetts is associated with the dress. It likely belonged to one of her relatives.

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About This Item

  • Title: Victorian-era cotton dress, ca. 1855
  • Creation Date: circa 1855
  • Subject Date: circa 1855
  • Location: ME
  • Media: cotton
  • Dimensions: 139.7 cm x 339.725 cm
  • Local Code: A86-72
  • 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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