Posts Tagged ‘dress’

Exhibit Highlight: Children’s Dress

Thursday, April 5th, 2012


Hidden in one of the upstairs bedrooms of the Andover Historical Society is an exquisite children’s nightgown which is part of the current exhibit, “Common Indecency.” This is one of several pieces of children’s clothing at the Historical Society, but it is one of the most beautiful. Made of white cotton with real lace trim, it would have been one little girl’s dream nightgown, and it is our Exhibit Highlight this week.


Close Up of the Neckline

The nightgown is made of white cotton, and it is full length with from tie closure with long sleeves. There is fine lace trim decorating the neck and sleeves, and a high lace waistband. Also added are several ruffles in the skirt and at the shoulders. This handmade piece of clothing was donated to the Andover Historical Society in 1940 by Mr. William A. Trow, who was born in 1868 and died at the age of eighty-one in 1949. Mr. Trow was married to Miss Florence Gardner, and they had an adopted daughter named Charlotte, who married in 1947 and became Mrs. Charlotte Bowes Trow Young.


Object 1940.122.1

William Trow was an integral part of the community, and served the town of Andover in many different ways. He graduated from Punchard High School, and went on to be part of the Punchard School Board of Trustees. He was a member of the Andover School Committee, and was even a president of the Andover Historical Society from 1936-1947. Mr. Trow enjoyed collecting historical notes, and there is a William A. Trow collection at the Historical Society today, containing mostly information on the Samuel Phillips family during the Revolutionary War.

The nightgown on exhibit now is a beautiful example of children’s nightwear, and how elegant it used to be. I know that as a small child, I would have loved to wear something  like that to bed. I bet the child that was that lucky had magical dreams.


On the 5th Day of Christmas Trees…

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Angela McBrien did bring to us… a tree fit to attend a Christmas Soiree!

Decorated by Angela McBrien

The invention of the sewing machine freed women from the tedium of hand sewing and left women with more time to embellish their dresses. The typical dress of 1870 was a riot of ruffles, bows and frills, all in the intense jewel tone colors that were made possible by the discovery of the artificial dyes.

No, our machine doesn't have chicken pox - there are just lots of those red lights reflecting on the display case!

Angela chose to take her tree to new heights and really ‘dress’ it up for the holiday display! After researching sewing machines from the 1870s, similar to the one on display, and discovered just how much finery, ruffles, and trimmings were being added to gowns as result of the speedier process.  A full display of home economics and sewing lesson tools are on exhibit along side the sewing machine – from thimbles and needle books to displays of antique buttons and sewing sample books.

The red satin and red lights of the tree are truly stunning in our main gallery and it’s getting ohs and ahs from all the ladies, young and old alike! Who wouldn’t want to step out the door to a Christmas Party dressed in such a fine gown?

Angela custom made this beautiful bodice for her tree - the shoulders are wired to remain delicately in their proper place!