Getting Dressed From Head to Toe with Elizabeth Monroe

Getting Dressed From Head to Toe
with Elizabeth Monroe

A Virtual Exhibition of Dresses that Belonged to a President’s Wife

“From wedding dresses to work smocks,” clothing has the power to tell the story of the people who owned them and how they lived.1 Throughout history and now clothing has always been a form of self-expression. By Looking at garments from different period of time, people are able to determine a few things about the orginal owner. For instance, one can learn about a person’s taste in color and social status just by looking at someone’s articles of clothing. However, the story of clothing is not entirly about the garments or the owneer. In fact, the study of historic clothing can provide an insight into “the broader happenings” of different historical periods. 2

Gown and petticoat, ca. 1785, owned by Elizabeth Monroe at the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library.
Bodice, overskirt, and petticoat, ca. 1786, owned by Elizabeth Monroe at the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library.
Silk Velvet dress, ca. 1803, owned by Elizabeth Monroe at the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library.

Getting Dressed from Head to Toe with Elizabeth Monroe is intended to bring visitors closer to Elizabeth Kortright Monroe and the fashion of the Early American Republic by looking at three of her dresses that are no longer on display at the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library

This virtual exhibition was made by Megan Williams in collaboration with HIST 319: The Early American Republic taught by Dr. Will Mackintosh at the University of Mary Washington and the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library administered by the University of Mary Washington.

  1. Karen M. DePauw, The Care and Display of Historic Clothing (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017), xxiii.
  2. DePauw, The Care and Display of Historic Clothing, xxix.
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