Smithsonian - National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Costume Collection - Women's Dresses

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Dress, 1-Piece - click to enlarge

Dress, 1-Piece - click to enlarge

Click photos to enlarge.

Dress, 1-Piece

Catalogue number: CS*013765

Date: 1836-1841

Maker: Unknown


Pale gold silk taffeta; wide neck, with self binding, edged at front with piping; neck yoke; center front piped seam; pleated from yoke seam to inset waistband seam to form fan shape; center back closure with 11 metal hooks-and-eyes; piping applied on back as if curved seam; bodice lined with white cotton; full, long sleeves pleated at upper portion with two stitched-down narrow bands to control fullness; fullness released at elbow; additional pleating and bands at lower portion; two hook-and-eye closures at wrist; skirt pleated, except at center back where gauged; hem faced with white muslin.


Mary Catharine Bruyn wore this dress about the time that she married James Christie Forsyth, an attorney. The couple wed in Kingston, New York, on June 26, 1839. She was born November 5, 1815, the daughter of Severyn T. Bruyn and Catherine Hasbrouck. She and James Christie had six children, and her daughters donated the dress to the Smithsonian Institution. According to an unsubstantiated source, Mr. Christie left his family sometime after 1850 (he is listed in the 1850 Kingston U.S. Census) and his death in Hereford, England, in 1855. Exhibited in the Hall of American Costume from 1964 to 1973.

Credit: From the Misses Forsyth