Dresses by Decade


What is a Trousseau?
Something Old, Something New Case | The Art of Giving

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The definition of trousseau is “clothes and linen collected by the bride before her wedding.” The act of collecting these personal items was usually started years before the nuptials and included everything from bath towels and table linens to stationary, wedding accessories, lingerie, and dresses.

Luggage was also considered a part of the trousseau, and a 19th-century bride could pack up most of her trousseau items into a trunk such as this one. This particular trunk, ca. 1885, contains decorative compartments for storing everything from hats to bed linens.
MHS Museum Collections
26862

Trousseau Case
This dark green wool tweed two-piece dress was part of the trousseau of Kate Margaret Halfer, who married Hugh Stewart Murray of Boonville, Missouri, on September 22, 1896.
Gift of Mrs. Mary Murray Hilliker
26878
This silk taffeta bonnet decorated with purple flowers and blue ribbon was part of the trousseau of Lucy Ann Fricke, who married James P. Young on January 30, 1868, in Philadelphia and later moved to St. Louis.
Gift of Mr. Edward H. Young
26875
In some families, quilts were made for or given to the bride and groom to begin their new life together. The double wedding ring pattern shown on this orange and purple quilt made about 1935 has been a popular choice since the 1920s.
Gift of Mr. Michael Tooley
27005
Luggage was also considered a part of the trousseau, and a 19th-century bride could pack up most of her trousseau items into a trunk such as this one. This particular trunk, ca. 1885, contains decorative compartments for storing everything from hats to bed linens.
MHS Museum Collections
26862
This pair of black satin shoes trimmed in black lace and velvet ribbon was part of the trousseau of Anne Rocheford, who married Bernard Protte of Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, in 1847.
Gift of Mrs. J. Bruce Stewart
26871
This white linen damask monogrammed bath towel was spun and woven by Mary Wentzel for her daughter Cecilia’s trousseau in the 1820s.
Gift of Miss Gladys Sellers
27001
Mary Rose wore this homemade blue polyester dress with jacket and pillbox hat as a going away dress after her marriage to John Loire on February 2, 1963.
Gift of Mrs. John T. Loire
26883, 26884

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