Bling!: Gorgeous Gowns and Dazzling Dresses :
Object Name:
Dress
Object ID:
2811-109
Date:
circa 1880
Owned:
Sawyer, Melvina M. Hadley
Used:
Washington D.C.
Made:
Emile Pasquier/Paris
Description:
Bustle gown of purple and gold silk brocade cut-away bodice that falls over the hips in a Bustle dress with bodice in a colonial coat-like manner, long tailed-back with two faux flap back pockets, flap in a solid purple silk satin with each having 2 large buttons of inlaid mother-of-pearl decoration of a winged sphinx; the collar, down front, cuffs and around hip area trimmed with cream-colored lace; right side of front has 14 small decoration buttons in same design as the back large buttons of a winged sphinx; front closure of plain purple satin with covered purple buttons; front also has two purple short flap pocket. skirt with long train has shirred rows and fringe of purple, lavender and gold seed beads with purple thread balls at the ends. Marked on waist ribbon: Robes & Manteaux/Emile Pasquier/ Paris/30. Rue de 4 Septembre-7 Blvd des Capucines [near the site of Paris Opera]

The donor, Mrs William Goodman, was Mrs. Sawyer's daughter and claimed when donated that dress was worn in Washington D.C. at Presidential Parties. Her husband was Senator Sawyer. It is possible that she had this dress made during her 1880 European trip while in Paris.
Below newspaper clipping most likely described this gown (year missing):
Mrs. Sawyer's Reception [Special Dispatch to The Sunday Sentinel.] Washington, Jan. 20.-Mrs. Sawyer's reception yesterday afternoon was not only the largest of the day, but the largest that has been held since New Year's. The weather was such as to make carriages almost indispensable to those who attended, and the roads in the vicinity of Eighteenth and I street were blockaded with them for two hours. When Mrs. Sawyer and her daughter "at home," there is no residence in the city more popular among callers. In addition to the usual formalities of calling and receiving calls, Mrs. Sawyer provides music and dancing and a handsome collation. At the reception yesterday Mrs. Sawyer wore a deep violet satin, brocaded with cold and trimmed with the finest Pompadour lace. And. Beside her large solitaire diamond earrings, wore a crescent pendant and a start set with large solitaires. Mrs. Howard White wore a court train of dead-leaf velvet, brocaded on a pale blue ground and bodice and tabler [spelling as in original newspaper clipping, but think they must have meant tablier, which is an apron-like part of a dress or apron-like overdress which is open down the back] of blue moire, ruffled with Valenciennes lace. Mrs. William Goodman was attired in a corsage and train of pale Pompadour brocade, over a skirt of rose-colored silk, trimmed with Duchess lace.
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Melvina Hadley Sawyer P2001.01.026Melvina Hadley Sawyer P2001.01.026