Of thousands of bridal traditions, something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue has managed to stand the test of time.
The Museum of Troy History’s special June exhibition has a bit of each traditional cliche in each exhibit entitled “Something Borrowed, Something Blue: Bridal Stories of Troy, Ohio” featuring wedding dresses and their bridal stories on display.
The 10 wedding dresses range in age from 1853’s Pamela Coleman Allen’s delicate wedding dress to the 1965 wedding frock of Barbara LeFevre.
The special exhibit will be on display through July 12 at the Museum of Troy History, 124 E. Water St. The exhibit is open to the public during regular museum hours from 1-5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. It is co-curated by Dr. M. Lynn Barnes, dress historian and Hadley Drodge, new curator of the Museum of Troy History.
Drodge’s favorite pieces in the exhibit are from the 1930s era and includes a dress that embodies the “something blue” part of the display.
The blue velvet floor length gown, cut on the bias worn, was worn by Agnes Hirschbolz in 1934. Her wedding to Erwin J. McKale on Sept. 18, 1934, took place right in the middle of the Great Depression, but the midnight blue velvet dress, adorned with art deco-style silver and crystal pieces, stands out in the collection of the expected off white, cream and aged silk dresses in the collection.
“This is my favorite dress in the exhibit because it is a full-length blue velvet dress,” she said.”My question was how did she own floor length blue velvet dress during the Depression?”
Hirschbolz was the only one of her six siblings to be employed through the Depression as a model and clerk for Jaffe’s dress shop in Piqua. It is believed the dress came from Jaffe’s shop and her earnings went to pay for the dress in the country’s worse economic time in history.
From Piqua, Agnes socialized in Troy frequently. She also was a milliner or hat-maker and she made the cream colored beret to wear on her wedding day.
The dress was on loan from the collection of Kay Vagedes, Agnes’ daughter, who resides in downtown Troy. Wedding photos of Agnes in her blue velvet gown and cream hat, along with her T-strap shoes and cake plate from her wedding accompany the dress in the display.
One year later, Maralyn Jane Tankersley and William Douglas Houser were married on Sept. 27, 1935, in St. Louis, Mo.
Houser’s family managed the Troy Sunshade Products company and had its memorabilia from the company included in the display of the Houser wedding dress.
“Their daughter, who loaned us the dress for the exhibit, came to see the collection, she was looking through here (the Sunshade catalogue) and found her father as a model in this catalogue,” she said. “That’s what I wanted to do was tell the story not only of the history of the garment, but also the people these clothes adorned. That really makes the clothes come alive I think — like what role did they play in the community.”
The Housers were relocated by the Troy Sunshade Company to White Plains, N.Y., where William worked as a salesman at 180 Madison Ave. on the 16th floor. Maralyn worked as a model. The couple later moved to Troy in 1940.
Many newspapers covered their wedding due to Maralyn’s work as a model. Their wedding announcement was also mentioned in the Princeton Alumni Weekly. William graduated from Princeton University in 1932.
The exhibit also features local weddings as far back as 1853 and features over 10 gowns, bridesmaids’ dresses and men’s morning wear, scrapbooks, photographs and accessories.
According to Drodge, while some dresses remain in the museum’s permanent collection, others are loaned directly from local families in the Troy area. Drodge even found wedding decorations up in the attic, which were made out of beeswax, still in its original condition while searching through the museum’s archives.
Each dress comes with its own story of the woman it adorned, including a 1930’s New York fashion model, a relative of one of Troy’s founding members, and the story of a dress worn by eight different brides in one family.
For more information, visit the Museum of Troy History’s website at www.museumoftroyhistory.org or email Drodge at [email protected]