Wedding Dress, 1851, American
This wedding dress presents a conundrum in that some stylistic aspects of the dress appear to be later than the marriage date of 1851 provided in the original accession records. While the bodice has very fashionable full size pagoda sleeves, which were a new shape in 1851, the skirt with bustle, train and ruffles at bottom is more consistent with the 1870s rather than the dome shape of the 1850s. While it is possible that the skirt was re-made for a later bride, there is no obvious indication of that being the case. Wedding clothes have traditionally been vehicles for fantasy and historicism, however, which may be the case in the styling of this one. It nevertheless is a grand dress made for a wedding in Grace Church, a high society Brooklyn house of worship.