During their annual spring luncheon on Feb. 24 at the Chateau Elan, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) learned about each decade of American history starting with the 1860s until the present. Their guest speaker, Leigh Ann Brown, presented the history lesson by showing a beautiful vintage wedding gown that represented a typical gown worn by women during that decade. As she described the gown, she described the political and social events that occurred during that time period. She also discussed the changing roles of women since the Civil War.
Brown has collected hundreds of vintage wedding dresses, and she gathers the stories that correspond with each dress. As she pointed to the 1860s dress with the high bustle, she told the story of the Civil War bride. During this time period, women wore many layers of undergarments and corsets, confining their bodies. In addition, women were also confined to tightly-regulated social roles. They were not allowed to own land or speak in court without their husband’s consent. According to Brown, women were told, “If you have a brain, hide it. If you don’t, you’ll never be married.”
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