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Historic Clothing Collection


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Anne Wilson's rayon dress, ca. 1925
Anne Wilson's rayon dress, ca. 1925Maine Historical Society

Representing day wear there is a mature lady’s long sleeved brown heavy silk dress with decorative trimmings and a knife pleated knee length skirt front; Anne F. Wilson's red long sleeved early rayon dress featuring pieced art deco design construction; a velvet black with cream polka dots double breasted long sleeved tunic with diamanté buttons, and skirt attached to an underbodice; a coordinated thin tussah dress and heavy tussah three quarter length belted coat travel outfit; and a long, collared, short sleeved, tube-shaped dress entirely covered with red and green machine embroidery.

Knee length party dresses include a royal blue solid beaded sleeveless chemise; a simple cream chiffon (possibly wedding) dress, short sleeved with a delicate bodice motif embroidered in tiny pearls and beads; and a purple chiffon chemise with a hemline of velveteen handkerchief points. Lengthening skirts of the later 1920s are illustrated by a a red and gold metallic lace two-tiered dress from Bergdorf Goodman's (NY) with a longer skirt back; and an ankle length tube shaped greenish gold lamé with a beaded clasp on the wide hip sash.

Nile green dress, Paris, ca. 1926
Nile green dress, Paris, ca. 1926Maine Historical Society

Perhaps a green all over beaded mid-calf length dress is the most striking in the 1920s collection. Its color, Nile Green (named for the Egyptian river), and hemline palmette designs provide an example of the prevailing Egyptian design influence that stemmed from Howard Carter’s 1922 discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb. The dress was acquired and worn in Paris by Mrs. Howard Burr (formerly Cécile de Wasilowska of Poland), grandmother of Cecile P. Carver of Scarborough.