11/10/2012 3:10:00 PM Homemaker, First Lady, widow in mourning: Mary Lincoln's fashions featured
SPRINGFIELD — If “the clothes make the man,” what do they do for a woman? Particularly a woman enduring tragedy in the public eye? A new event explores those questions by looking at the fashions Mary Lincoln wore at different stages of her tumultuous life.
The “Culture of Clothing” presentation – taking place Nov. 19 in Springfield _ features Mary Lincoln’s fashions as a homemaker, a first lady and a widow in mourning after the loss of three sons and a husband.
Models wearing new versions of her dresses and jewelry will mingle with visitors and answer questions about the clothing. Actresses portraying Lincoln’s African-American seamstress, Elizabeth Keckley, and pioneering lawyer Myra Bradwell will also circulate to discuss their work and women’s lives in that era.
Women’s roles in American society changed significantly in the second half of the 19th century, propelled by war, industrialization and women’s own drive for equality. Their fashions changed, too, and Mary Lincoln’s clothing reflected that.
“Culture of Clothing” was developed by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission. Mira Horoszowski of Mira Couture produced new versions of the four Lincoln dresses.
The “Culture of Clothing” events are part of a year-long look at Mary Lincoln’s life and the role of 19th century women. Other events include two re-trials of the former first lady on insanity charges and a panel discussion that compared 19th and 21st century mental health laws, treatment and attitudes.
_ Nov. 19 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum in Springfield, from 6:30 p.m. to approximately 8:30. Tickets are $25 per person.