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Raising the Hem: Historic Fashions of American Nobility

Raising the Hem: Historic Fashions of American Nobility2013-exh-image
February 18 to December 31, 2013


"Raising the Hem: Historic Fashions of American Nobility" was our 10-month major exhibition. It featured dresses of several First Ladies including Caroline Harrison, Mary Lincoln, Grace Coolidge, and Mamie Eisenhower, just to name a few. Many were on loan from the National First Ladies Library. Dresses were rotated during the exhibit with 20 or more on display at any one time.

More changed in the lives of women than a simple hemline during the 100 years represented. As women's social status changed and they entered the work force, their clothing styles reflected more freedom in mobility. Raising the Hem was a beautiful complement to our permanent display of women's suffrage artifacts in the restored carriage house. The hem has been raised; come explore our exhibit to learn about the changes through history. The exhibit ran from February 18 to December 31, 2013.

Dresses, capes, hats, shoes, fans and purses of White House ladies were among the features of Raising the Hem. Guests of all ages will become immersed in the exhibit's interactive components, which include a life-sized paper dress-up doll, a touch table with decorative fans and a "write-in" activity for those wishing to leave a written mark. Raising the Hem featured: Grace Coolidge, Mamie Eisenhower, Julia Grant, Florence Harding, Harriet Lane, Mary Lincoln, Mary Arthur McElroy, Jane Pierce, Edith Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Taft, Bess Truman, Edith Wilson, Caroline Harrison, and Mary Harrison McKee.

The dresses shown here from top to bottom are Mamie Eisenhower, Grace Coolidge (both courtesy of the National First Ladies Library), and Caroline Harrison.

Special Thanks to Supporters:

National First Ladies Library
Indiana State Museum (loan of mannequins)
Morris-Butler House (loan of dress forms)
Indianapolis Museum of Art

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Funding for this project was made possible through the sponsorship of Caroline Scott Harrison Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.

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