Bling!: Gorgeous Gowns and Dazzling Dresses :
Object Name:
Object ID:
May, Maria Brownell
Nodine, Mrs. M.
Bustle gown of golden champagne-colored brocade silk satin bodice front has floral design of beads and satin embroidery extending from center back down bodice front, fabric inset forms center closure with 11 buttons (new replacements-originals missing), bodice front and back form deep V's. Bodice collar of cream-colored satin folds out to form labels, decorated with cream-colored beads, set-in sleeves have 3 slits with fabric insets, sleeves extend to elbows with V-shaped trim over which are hanging strands of beads. Dress overskirt on the left is pleated and then gathered and draped to the back where it is sewn to fabric that forms the train and is edged with cream-colored lace. This overskirt on the right is cream-colored silk which is pleated and gathered and drapes to the right side. A golden champagne-colored brocade fabric inset shows between these two overskirts.These brocade skirts decorated with white-beaded fringe and one corsage of silk flowers. A second underskirt of cream-colored silk is sewn to the first underskirt and extends to the floor. Front of skirt decorated with 3 banded rows shirred cream-colored silk. Inside waist ribbon marked: Mrs. M. Nodine/Wabash Avenue/Chicago, ILL.

Wedding dress used by Maria Brownell (9/26/1850-4/21/1926) when she married John M.S. May (2/12/1841-11/7/1889)

Oshkosh Northwestern reported wedding on 6/17/1880:
Pleasant but Unostentatious Wedding of Mr. J. M. S. May and Miss Maria Brownell Last Evening.
For some weeks past society has been on the qui vive regarding rumors that one of our most widely known and popular business men was shortly to renounce the paths of single blessedness and join in wedlock one of the most highly respected and accomplished young ladies of this city. The characteristic modesty of the parties concerned naturally shrank from all heralding and display regarding the coming event and gossiping society was and still is robbed of any elaborate theme of discussion on that point. The happy event occurred last evening in a very quiet and unostentatious manner at the residence of Robt. Campbell, Esq., corner of Merritt and Mount Vernon streets. The groom was Mr. J.M.S. May at the extensive dry goods firm of Wm. Hill & Co. [he was part owner of] and the bride was Miss Maria Brownell, niece of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Campbell. There was no effort whatever at display but in fact every endeavor to allay any appearance in that direction. The house was neatly but not extravagantly decorated. Delicate strands of evergreen bordered the main parlors, with festoons of the same from the four corners to the center chandeliers. The casements and stair cases were trimmed in the same manner, while basket and vase bouquets, the harvest of flowery June, were arranged in greater profusion throughout the house. Strings of smilax were deftly arranged wherever taste might suggest. Over the bay window in the north parlor was suspended a floral horse shoe of white roses and syringa blossoms dotted with forget-me-nots, with a background to the whole design, of dried grasses and grain. The ceremony occurred beneath this floral design. In the bay window of the south parlor, suspended with a cord of smilax, hung the marriage bell, a solid floral design composed of mats of white roses and syringa blossoms, with a tongue composed of a single calla lily. The design was exquisitely beautiful. Beneath this the couple stood during the reception. Over the mantle-piece in the north parlor was stationed a bow and arrow of scarlet flowers. The ceremony took place at half-past seven o'clock, and was performed by Rev. F.R. Hall, rector of Trinity Church. The guests at the ceremony consisted of a few relatives and near friends of the parties and the family. There were not bridesmaids or groomsmen. The guests at the reception numbered about one hundred. Mr. Geo. Croft and Mr. C.O. Josslyn served as ushers. The bride was arrayed in brocaded satin, trimmed with white pearl passamenterie and pearl fringe. The illusion veil was caught in the hair with a miniature bow and arrow, in the center of which gleamed a solitaire diamond. She also wore elegant diamond ear rings and a diamond pendant cross. The diamonds were wedding gifts. The bridal trousseau was made in Chicago. After the reception and congratulations which followed the ceremony the company sat down to a bountiful wedding supper. The table was handsomely decorated, the main floral feature being a massive cascade of flowers in the center. The presents are known to be many and very elegant, but they were not exhibited at all. At 11 o'clock Mr. and Mrs. May were driven to the depot where they took the train for Chicago. They will there take a boat trip by water to Lake Superior points, possibly visiting interesting places in Minnesota before returning. They intend to be absent about four weeks.

Almost all of the outstanding elements found in the exhibit can be seen in this one gown.
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