Minnesota Historical Society M-Flame Logo
Collections

Collections Up Close

Reception Gown

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

A two-piece claret-colored velvet and taffeta reception gown with bustle and train. Self-covered buttons at center front with detail embroidery. Asymmetrically trimmed with draped swags, knotted cotton fringe and self-fabric bows. Hand and machine sewn. It was made by dressmaker Miss Jane E. Turner of New York for Mary LeDuc in September, 1877 and worn by Mrs. LeDuc at a White House reception with Mrs. Hayes, October 1877.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this dress in our collections database.

(Note: The comments section has been temporarily disabled while we upgrade the website. You can always leave comments on our Flickr Photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/minnesotahistoricalsociety/)

Bookmark and Share

Baseball Trophy

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

A silver trophy baseball with a tripod baseball bat stand. The ball is engraved: “Northwestern Exhibition & Fair / Winona Minn. / Champion Ball / Won by the Clippers of Winona in a match game with the Silver Stars of Northfield / Sep 10, 1875″.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this trophy in our collections database.

(Note: The comments section has been temporarily disabled while we upgrade the website. You can always leave comments on our Flickr Photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/minnesotahistoricalsociety/)

Bookmark and Share

Drying Meat

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

A stereoview photograph of three Dakota Indians drying meat. Taken in the 1870s.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this photograph in our collections database.

(Note: The comments section has been temporarily disabled while we upgrade the website. You can always leave comments on our Flickr Photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/minnesotahistoricalsociety/)

Bookmark and Share

Hair Bouquet

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

A floral, cone shaped bouquet made of hair, thread, and wire mounted on a wood block. Hair is worked into flower shapes with avariety of braiding techniques. Colorful dropped bulbs are attached by string to the center of each flower. The stems are wire wrapped with thread and are joined together at the center with wire and string. The flowers are numbered 1-50 and accompanying cards name the person whose hair corresponds to each number. This type of hairwork was popular during the 1860s and 1870s.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this hairwork piece in our collections database.

(Note: The comments section has been temporarily disabled while we upgrade the website. You can always leave comments on our Flickr Photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/minnesotahistoricalsociety/)

Bookmark and Share

Silk Day Dress

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Dark grey grosgrain silk one-piece princess style, trained day dress. Worn by Amelia Short Messer, Mankato, Minnesota, 1870s.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this dress in our collections database.

(Note: The comments section has been temporarily disabled while we upgrade the website. You can always leave comments on our Flickr Photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/minnesotahistoricalsociety/)

Bookmark and Share

Three Men

Monday, August 11th, 2014

The Minnesota Historical Society loves photography and thus declares this week to be the “Unofficial History of Photography Week”. Each day we will post an image from a different photographic method.

Today we present this 1/4 plate Daguerreotype of three men drinking, circa 1870. The daguerreotype was one of the first photographic processes in wide-spread use. It uses a polished silver plate that is developed over fuming mercury and then sealed in a case to prevent oxidation of the silver plate.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this photograph in our collections database.

(Note: The comments section has been temporarily disabled while we upgrade the website. You can always leave comments on our Flickr Photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/minnesotahistoricalsociety/)

Bookmark and Share

Reception gown worn by Mary LeDuc

Friday, May 30th, 2014


How torn Mary LeDuc must have felt between extravagance and necessity when assessing her social position and need for proper dress. She was anticipating her husband’s appointment as Secretary of Commerce under President Hayes in 1877. The LeDucs had left their home in Hastings, Minnesota. While Gen. William Gates LeDuc served in the Civil War; his wife, Mary, stayed with her parents in Ohio.

Correspondence from the LeDuc family in the Minnesota Historical Society’s manuscript collection is filled with letters between Mrs. LeDuc and her daughters agonizing over frugalities as they alter bonnets and dresses, purchase fabric, ribbons and notions and seek an inexpensive dressmaker or milliner. “I had my silk bonnet all made over on Monday – new shape – Papa thought it was a new bonnet – with satin and dark cardinal plush and two big roses – I think it verypretty, it will do for dress bonnet all winter – only cost $4.25. ”

When General LeDuc was in Washington lobbying for his appointment, Mrs. LeDuc was living with her parents in Mount Vernon, Ohio. Their daughter, Minnie, was living in New York and had found a reasonable dressmaker in Miss Jane E. Turner. Miss Turner’s invoice of September 28, 1877 for one black silk and one brown velvet dress came to $128.33. Minnie’s excitement in receiving delivery of these dresses for her mother is in her letter, “Your dresses came Saturday and are lovely. I did not unfold them much fearing I could not pack them again. I should think both would fit you nicely. The front of the brown skirt is particularly pretty. “ She mailed the package to Mrs. Leduc after she arrived in Washington.

Mary’s letter back to Minnie, described an invitation from the White House. “I wore my brown silk out yesterday for first time, called on Mrs. Hayes after dinner.” The brown velvet and brocade reception gown must have felt very extravagant.

Florence wrote to her sister, Minnie, “[Miss Turner] has made two dresses for Mamma and they are lovely. She is a true artist. I’ve never seen any dresses at any time that could equal those made by her.”

This dress was donated by the LeDuc family in 1920 and remained unidentified until the photograph, dress, invoice and letters were brought together after research by Society collections staff and volunteers.

Special thanks to MNHS textile conservator Ann Frisina for her working in bringing this dress to life on a custom mannequin.

Linda McShannock, Associate Curator

Bookmark and Share

Decoration Day in St. Paul

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Decoration Day in St. Paul

On this Memorial Day, we remember that the holiday was originally called Decoration Day and was started after the Civil War to commemorate those killed in the war. The name change happened gradually and became official only in 1968 with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.

This Carte de Visite shows the first official Decoration Day parade held in St. Paul on May 30, 1870.

For more information, view this photograph in our collections database.

(Note: The comments section has been temporarily disabled while we upgrade the website. You can always leave comments on our Flickr Photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/minnesotahistoricalsociety/)

Bookmark and Share

Harriet Pope

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Harriet Pope

A tintype portrait of Harriet DePuy Pope made around 1870.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view this photo in our collections database.

(Note: The comments section has been temporarily disabled while we upgrade the website. You can always leave comments on our Flickr Photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/minnesotahistoricalsociety/)

Bookmark and Share

Lillian Victoria Thayer

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Lillian Victoria Thayer

Tintype photograph of Lillian Victoria Thayer taken circa 1870.

For details, view the tintype in our online collections database.

Bookmark and Share


An Ounce of Preservation: A Guide to the Care of Papers and Photographs