Friday, June 7, 2013

Louise Carnahan, age 12, attends a wedding in Indiana, 1878

This eye catching, gay ensemble was worn by 12 year old Louise Carnahan (1866-1937; later Mrs. Deming of New York) to the wedding of her uncle Oliver Hanna in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It was a winter wedding held on December 5, 1878. Having a well-documented provenance conjures up an image of this young woman: Can you imagine being a Victorian teenager, skipping, prancing & preening (under many a watchful eye no doubt) in a red & white silk dress with stylish grown up boots? She was most likely quite excited about the event. The color combination would have looked chipper, right down to the snow white boots. As noted by the Metropolitan Museum, even the addition of the dickey smacks of high style.

I decided to follow a (brief!) research tangent related to Louise’s ensemble for her uncle's wedding. Located her obituary and learned that her father, William Carnahan, was one of the largest shoe and boot distributors in Indiana at this time. 

Already interested in her lovely white 11 button leather boots, with their 1.5 inch heel, her father's business made them that much more intriguing...Do not know if I will pursue this further, but wanted to share with you, kind readers, just the same.


Photographs of the dress & boots are courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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