Mrs. G. C. Robbins wore this "second day" dress on January 13, 1837. She had married patent attorney G. C. Robbins the day before in Washington, D.C. We do not know much about the "second day" tradition, but it appears to have been more prevalent in the South. We believe that in this region a special dress was made for wear the day after the wedding. Most likely it was a day that the newlyweds could receive visitors. In some instances, there are no wedding photographs, but pictures were taken of the bride in her second day dress. If you know more about this tradition, we would like to hear about it.
This dress is typical of dresses of the mid-1830s. What is unique about styles of this period is the fullness in the sleeves located at the elbow. Just prior to that, sleeves had been very full at the top (sometimes called leg of mutton sleeves). In these dresses of the mid-1830s, it almost appears as if the fullness has slid down the sleeves. In the case of this dress, the sleeve was constructed to be very full, and then pleats were used to take in the fullness at the shoulder and at the forearm.
The skirt in this dress is not very full. It is likely that a panel was taken out at some later date and the skirt reattached to the bodice. Exhibited in the Hall of American Costume from 1964 to 1973.