Bronze leather shoes with cutwork and embroidery and a large silk rosette, mid 19th century. The pierced vamp is backed with blue silk and edged with chain stitching. This type of slipper would be more appropriate for home wear, possibly with a dressy wrapper. Bronzed leather is a slightly metallic-looking finish created by the use of cochineal dye, made from the bodies of South American beetles, a technique quite popular at this period. 1994.16.4, Courtesy of The Charleston Museum, Charleston, SC.
Cream silk moire taffeta dress with small round figures in black & tan. Bodice is trimmed in black lace & white silk ruffle with black lace stitched on it. Dropped shoulder with long fitted sleeve trimmed with a white ruffle & black lace trim. Flat-lined bodice comes below waist has black lace trim and unique hand-made buttons, probably made specifically for this dress. Skirt is full & pleated in front & sides with cartridge pleats in back which flows into a train. Hidden pocket in front right side. Hem is lined with 13" of glazed cotton. Inside of bodice has a waistband. Machine stitching is seen on different parts of the dress. HT 793, Courtesy of The Charleston Museum, Charleston, SC.
Turkey feather fan, mid 19th century, with red leather clasp. Made locally and common throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, these fans were especially popular during the war when more fashionable fans exported from France, England and China were difficult to obtain through the blockade. HT 6005, Courtesy of The Charleston Museum, Charleston, SC.
Brown ribbed silk two-piece day dress, c. 1866. The dress features the V-bodice, jewel neckline and very full skirt popular during the 1860s. It was worn by a member of the Jervey family of Charleston. HT 822, Courtesy of The Charleston Museum, Charleston, SC.
Young girl’s dotted pink cotton dress, c. 1860. It was worn by a daughter (Julia or Rosetta) of James Lente Manney and Julia Ann Fulford of Beaufort, N. C. Dr. Manney was in the North Carolina 10th Regiment Artillery, Co. G during the war. HT 2072, Courtesy of The Charleston Museum, Charleston, SC.
Threads of War: Clothing and Textiles of the Civil War
October 14, 2010-September 5, 2011
Commemorating the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War and celebrating the opening of its new textile gallery, The Charleston Museum presents "Threads of War: Clothing and Textiles of the Civil War." This original exhibition offers a peek into the lives of those left on the home front, battling deprivation and fear while raising their families and protecting their property, as well as those fighting on the front lines. "Threads of War" will illustrate how, as the 1860s marched on, the war took its toll not only in lives lost but on fashion, supplies, and every aspect of life. Women's, men's and children's clothing, uniforms and accessories, quilts, coverlets and flags, along with magazines, newspapers, daguerreotypes and diaries provide tangible images of mid-nineteenth century Charleston and a lifestyle torn apart by war.
Uniforms in the exhibition include a custom-tailored coat of fine wool, with wool and silk lining worn by Captain Warren R. Marshall of Charleston. He purchased it from Charleston tailor Charles D. Carr who maintained a shop at 30 Broad Street. Flags typically provided a rallying point for the troops. On display will be a woolen Confederate battle flag from the 5th South Carolina Cavalry/Butler's Brigade and an elegant embroidered blue silk flag (pictured left) from the Calhoun Artillery with palmetto tree and star.
"Threads of War" also includes a beautiful brown silk day dress (pictured right) worn by a member of the Jervey family of Charleston and a cream wool challis dress with Zouave-style jacket (a short open fronted jacket styled after the uniforms of the French Army serving in French North Africa) worn by Isabella Woodruff Holst, both with the wide hoop crinoline popular of the period. A young bride, Frances Ann Hardcastle, wore her best brown plaid silk dress for her hasty marriage to
William Henley Smith of Charleston, just two days after the bombing of Fort Sumter. Wedding garments, accessories and memoir excerpts from the 1865 wedding of Louisa McCord and Augustine T. Smythe reflect the difficulties in obtaining supplies even after the war had ended. A home-made palmetto straw hat and hand-crafted turkey feather fans (pictures below) form an image of inventiveness while a magnificent Chinese embroidered shawl brought in through the blockade shows a continuing desire for small luxuries. Men's riding trousers made by local tailor, C. D. Carr, elegant vests from shortly before the war and the ubiquitous 19th century top hat, worn by Henry Hyrne Baker of Charleston, portray the civilian side of men during the war.
An intricate woven coverlet made on Towles Plantation, Wadmalaw Island is one of the few slave-made artifacts that survived from those difficult years. A magnificent Star of Bethlehem quilt that was buried for safekeeping and a flowery chintz-appliquéd quilt made by friends of the Dibble family after they evacuated to Orangeburg during the war, are examples of women's artistry and skill.
For more information please visit: The Charleston Museum