Inauguration Ball Fashion Circa 1861 & 1865

At Inaugural Balls one things does not change, fashion is the highlight of the evening. There will always be a buzz around the newly sworn in President but fashion is one of the things that people remember from that evening for years to come. In this post we will explore the fashion from Abraham Lincolns two Inaugural balls in 1861 and 1865.

Lets start with 1861:

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This images shows a great overall view of the ballroom that night as well as a closeup shot of Mary Todd Lincoln. One accessory she carried through both balls was the flower coronet. While I was not able to find an image of her gown, you can be sure that she was dressed at the height of Washington City fashion!

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Popular publication’s such as “Frank Leslie’s Illustrated newspaper” reported on what various prominent ladies wore. This ball was and still is the highlight of the Washington City social season.

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This brooch was worn by Elisabeth Harvey Stevens to the ball.

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The ballgown bodice and skirt of this ensemble was worn to the ball by Caroline Bolles Cleveland. Imagine what a splash the wearer made in this sunshine yellow silk!

1865 Inaugural Ball:

1865This is one of the invites to the ball. If one of these made its way to you, you knew you were somebody important in Washington society.

1865gownHere is what Mary Todd Lincoln wore to this ball. This gown is now in the Smithsonian. The jewelry she wears was purchased for her in 1862 by her husband from Tiffany and Co.

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This set also included a matching brooch and earrings that are not pictured.

This next and final gown was worn by the  wife of Sec. of the Interior. The first image is of the day bodice with skirt and the second image is the of the ball gown bodice itself.

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The years have not been kind to the ballgown bodice bu the day bodice and skirt still retain that fabulous bright blue and complimenting yellow.

Even though not every piece of fashion was saved from these two balls, you can see how this event was the highlight of the season every 4 years.

I hope you enjoyed this look back and will stay tuned for future posts! Thank you!

 

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