J. Cogan, Dorchester
Costume; Clothing; Main garments; Dresses
Silk crepe, silk satin, silk point d’esprit, silk taffeta
1907. Pale green silk crepe two-piece dress trimmed with silver silk satin, having a bloused or pouched bodice closing in back, with button-decorated vertical slits over point d’esprit, a lace yoke and high lace band collar, three-quarter-length two-part sleeves, and a pleated sash, and with a floor-length gored and pleated skirt trimmed with satin, with a slight train. With it, matching gray suede shoes embroidered with tiny steel-cut beads.
The bloused or pouched silhouette of the bodice is created by a draped outer layer over a structural lining. The lining is made of cream silk taffeta and has eight pieces: two center-front panels with two vertical darts and one horizontal dart each, and a six-panel back with a center-back opening, fastening with fifteen hooks. All vertical darts, seams, and openings are boned, for a total of thirteen bones and there is a waist stay ribbon with one hook. The lining comes to a slight point in front and has a scooped neckline in front and back. The outer, draped layer is made of a very pale green silk crepe and has five pieces: one front panel, two side-front panels, and two center-back panels with a center-back opening. The front panel is divided by three 25.4 cm / 10 in. long vertical slits bound with silver silk satin facings, each held together at the top with three pairs of buttons and at the pouching with two pairs. These buttons are slightly domed and intricately wrapped with gray silk thread, and each pair is linked with knotted gray silk cord. A ruched width of cream silk point d’esprit is positioned between the lining and the crepe to puff through the open slits. The front panel does not extend all the way to the scyes, and is sewn to side-front panels to finish the width of the shoulders and complete the front of the bodice. These seams are concealed by long pleats from the sides of the waist in front to the shoulder seam. The side-front panels are plain, and are sewn to the back panels with 21.6 cm / 8.5 in. long side seams. The two center-back panels fasten with eleven hooks, and each panel has one 22.9 cm / 9 in. long slit, faced with satin, and held together with three button pairs at the top only. These have point d’esprit puffing through as well. Both the front and the back of the bodice have tiny pintucks radiating from the neckline, which is squared with an additional slight point in front. The neckline is framed with a 3.8 cm / 1.5 in. wide band of pleated silver silk satin, above which a pintucked yoke of point d’esprit is sewn, closing in back with six hooks. This rises to a high band collar with five stays, measuring 7 cm / 2.75 in. in front and 8.3 cm / 3.25 in. in back, where it fastens with five hooks. Sections of handmade bobbin lace are stitched to the point d’esprit in front and in back, and at the top edge of the collar.
The sleeves are three-quarter length and made in two main sections, though their entire length is lined in cream silk taffeta. A loose oversleeve, 19.7 cm / 7.75 in. long, is lightly gathered to the scye and is hemmed with a 2.9 cm / 1.125 in. wide satin band. Ruched point d’esprit peeks out below the hem to just above the elbow, where silk crepe is worked into 2.9 cm / 1.125 in. high fanned knife-pleated frills sewn to a 2.9 cm / 1.125 in. wide crepe band that has four rows of horizontal pintucks. A second frilled and pintucked crepe band is below this, with a narrow puff of point d’esprit between them. The sleeve is finished with a 5.1 cm / 2 in. wide lace cuff.
The bodice waist is at the natural level. It is covered with an integral 6.4 cm / 2.5 in. wide sash that curves down slightly in front and widens slightly in back above the waistline. The sash is made of pleated silver silk satin bands at its top and bottom edges, framing a pleated pale green crepe band at its center. Five small doubled bows are sewn to it in a V shape in front, with a satin bow at center bottom, two crepe bows spaced apart on the band above it, then two bows of satin spaced wider still on the top band. In back, four doubled bows are stacked vertically, hiding the hooks of the center-back closure beneath them. The bottom bow is satin, the next two are crepe, and the topmost satin bow is larger than the rest.
The skirt is made with seven gored pieces: one center-front panel, two side-front panels, two side-back panels, and two center-back panels. The center-front panel has one inverted stacked box pleat running its length, which is topstitched for the first 35.6 cm / 14 in. from the waist before releasing the fabric toward the hem. The two side-front panels each have two knife pleats pointing toward the back, which are also topstitched for the first 35.6 cm / 14 in. The two side-back panels each have two knife pleats pointing toward the front, then another two pointing toward the back, all topstitched for the first 17.8 cm / 7 in. The two center-back panels have a 12.7 cm / 5 in. long slit at the top of the center-back seam, fastening with eight hooks; each back panel is pleated toward the center seam with two stacked knife pleats, creating the effect of an inverted box pleat. A 11.4 cm / 4.5 in. wide strip of satin trims the skirt at the mid-calf level, remaining parallel to the floor as the skirt lengthens into a train in back beneath it. It wraps from the back to the front where it rises at 90 degrees on either side of center for 29.2 cm / 11.5 in. The skirt is supported with a cream silk taffeta lining, joined to it at the waistband but floating free at the seams and hem. This is itself reinforced at the hem with a 19.1 cm /7.5 in. wide knife-pleated flounce that has a second 6.4 cm / 2.5 in. wide ruffle on its edge.
The shoes worn with the dress are still associated with it. Gray suede evening shoes with a medium-length vamp (toe) coming to a pointed narrow oval toe and joining the quarters (backs) with a diagonal side seam. The quarters (backs) are sewn together at center back, and the top edge of the quarters wraps to the front and forms the front-lacing open-tabs of the shoe. One pair of stitched eyelets are set into the tabs, laced with a gray grosgrain ribbon tied into a bow. The vamp and quarters are embroidered with tiny steel-cut beads. The continuous leather sole incorporates a kidskin-covered French/Louis heel. Lined in kidskin.
The dress is professionally made, with a label reading “J. Cogan, Dorchester”. Machine-sewn and hand-sewn.
The shoes are professionally made and machine-sewn.
Bust: 91.44 cm / 36 in.
Waist: 63.5 cm / 25 in.
Shoulder: 12.065 cm / 4.75 in.
Sleeve: 41.91 cm / 16.5 in.
Hem: 461.01 cm / 181.5 in.
Length (skirt front): 101.6 cm / 40 in.
Length (skirt back): 121.92 cm / 48 in.
Shoe length: 24.1 cm / 9.5 in.
Shoe width: 7 cm / 2.75 in.
Heel height: 3.8 cm / 1.5 in.
Gift of Sally Ford. Worn by the donor’s grandmother, Sarah Tappan (1873-1961) at her wedding to Richard E. Coe (1866-1934) on March 30, 1907, which took place at the Coe family home in Durham, New Hampshire.
This was Sarah’s second marriage; her first, to childhood sweetheart Guy Burton Carter in 1895, came to a tragic end eleven months later when Guy died of typhoid fever. He was just 24 years old.
Sarah had attended Smith College from 1892-1894 and now she became a tutor of French and Latin, teaching in Providence, Rhode Island, and in Boston and Cambridge in Massachusetts between 1897 and 1905.
In the Fall of 1900 she traveled to Europe with Guy Carter’s sister, and on board the ship she met Richard Coe. The three young people became, in Sarah’s words, the “Atlantic Trio.”
After their 1907 wedding Sarah and Richard lived in the Boston area near her parents, but their daughter Serena frequently visited her Coe grandparents in Durham before eventually marrying and moving there. Sarah joined her in Durham after Richard’s death in 1934. Shortly thereafter, Sarah and her Coe sisters-in-law donated several 18th century items inherited from Temperance Pickering-Knight to the Bowen Collection. See Museum Numbers 404, 439, 440, 475, 117, 69, 58, and 47. See also Museum Number 1995.21 for Richard Coe’s wedding vest and Museum Number 77 for Sarah Tappan’s dress from Liberty of London.
University of New Hampshire Library
Astrida Schaeffer, photographer/curator
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
Dresses, Wedding dresses, 1907, Durham, New Hampshire, United States, Two-piece dresses, Belle Époque, Silk crepe, Pale green (color), Silk satin, Silver (color), Bloused bodice, Pouched bodice, Buttons, Thread-wrapped buttons, Slits, Point d'esprit, Lace, Bobbin lace, Handmade lace, Yoke, Band collar, Three-quarter-length sleeves, Two-part sleeves, Cuffs, Sash, Pleats, Floor-length skirt, Gores, Satin, Trains (costume components), Silk taffeta, Darts, Hooks, Boning, Stays, Waist stay ribbon, Pintucks, Silk cord, Gathering (textile process), Ruching, Frills, Bows (costume accessories), Inverted stacked box pleats, Knife pleats, Stacked knife pleats, Ruffles, Flounces, Topstitching, Embroidery, Women's shoes, Gray (color), Suede, Steel-cut beads, Grosgrain ribbon, French heel, Louis heel, Kidskin, Professionally made, Machine-sewn, Hand-sewn, Ford (donor)