The earliest gown in the exhibit is a lovely 1840 satin and lace gown. An ivory print silk gown from 1855 has an unexpected connection to the family of President Theodore Roosevelt. While white or ivory are now the traditional colors for wedding gowns, in the past it was customary for a bride to wear bright colors such as that worn by Georgia Gross at her wedding to Howard Rinek. Not only were bright colors worn, Henrietta Kilian wore a black brocade dress when she wed Konrad Kilian during the 1850’s.
Mens attire is featured with tuxedos from the 1910’s, 1930’s, and 1960’s, and a suit from the 1950’s.
Queen Victoria ushered in the popularity of white wedding gowns. At her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840. Although the gown was considered to be white, it was really a light shade of ivory as pure white was very difficult to produce. Several gowns in the exhibit are white/ivory, such as the 1947 floral printed organdy gown. Sleeveless,
with a demure V-neckline, this gown has full-length gauntlets (detachable sleeves) trimmed with a ruffle of pleated net, matching the trim around the neckline.
Not all brides wore gowns. During the 1940’s and 1950’s wedding suits were very popular. The bride’s pretty two piece pink satin suit is complimented by the groom’s tan twill suit, with a print tie in shades of rust and cream. Finishing her ensemble is the bride’s small brown hat and brown pumps.
Of course, there is so much more to commemerating brides. Also on exhibit are photographs, cake knives, wedding dolls and many more artifacts that are used in wedding celebrations.
Under the direction of Andria Zaia, NCHGS Curator; and Brittany Schrum, Curator of Exhibitions, a team of skilled volunteers has done extensive conservation work on these garments, and has sculpted and dressed the mannequins.
The Sigal Museum is honored to share these exquisite fashions and looks forward to taking their visitors on a journey of wedding styles from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Special tours for groups are available, please contact Barbara Kowitz, 610.253.1222 to schedule.
The Sigal Museum of the Northampton County Historical & Genealogical Society is located in historic Easton, Pennsylvania. The “Here Come the Brides” exhibit will run from October 10, 2015 through March 1, 2016 and is included in museum admission: $7 Adults, $5 Children age 3 – 12, and children under 3 are admitted free. Museum hours are seasonal, please check sigalmuseum.org for information.
About Northampton County Historical & Genealogical Society
The Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society was established in 1906 and continues to serve Northampton County PA and researchers throughout the world, by preserving, showcasing,
exhibiting, and interpreting its more than 60,000 collection items. The Society maintains four locations in Easton, PA – the Mixsell House Museum at 4th and Ferry Streets, the Jacob Nicholas House Museum at 5th & Ferry Streets, the 1753 Bachmann Publick House at 2nd & Northampton Streets, and the Sigal Museum at 342 Northampton Street. To learn more, visit sigalmuseum.org