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April 19, 2012

1870s gown

Filed under: Item of the Day — Lizzie Ehrenhalt @ 9:30 am

1870s gown (side view)1870s gown (rear view)

Gown worn by Mahala Pillsbury, wife of John S. Pillsbury, to ceremonies marking her husband’s inauguration as the eighth governor of Minnesota in 1876. The ivory moir√© gown has a one-piece bodice and an overskirt of black, Chantilly-like lace. The neck edge, sleeves, and bodice front are trimmed with metallic braid. The boned bodice has three-quarter length sleeves, hook-and-eye front center closure, and an attached waistband. The skirt has double-boxed pleats at the center back with one inner piece of tape to control fullness. The back of the skirt is lined with crinoline. Layers of pleated tapes edged with lace are sewn to the inside hem.

In 1960, Tommy Roland of New York designed a miniature version of the gown for a Mahala Pillsbury doll (pictured below). ¬† It was displayed in the River Room of the St. Paul location of Dayton’s department store along with dolls representing governors’ wives Amelia Hubbard, Sarah Jane Sibley, Anna Ramsey, and Mary Austin.

Mahala Pillsbury doll

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