Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


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Maria Marcel

Date Created



Costume; Underwear; Underwear and accessories for shaping and supporting; Underwear (upper body); Corsets


Silk, steel boning, lace


1890-1905. Corset of pale pink silk satin, contoured into an hourglass silhouette with shaped panels, gussets, and steel boning, and consisting of two separate sections joined in back with lacing and in front with a two-part steel busk hooking shut with loops or eyes on one side and posts or studs on the other.

The corset extends from just above the bust to over the stomach and top of the hips. It comes to a point at the bottom in front and is rounded in back. Each half of the corset has four shaped panels, with two gussets over the bust and five contouring the hips. Ribbon channels sewn through all layers of fabric hold 34 steel bones in five varying widths from 1.6 cm / 0.625 in. to 0.477 cm / 0.1875 in. The main boning strips run vertically and diagonally for the full height of the corset while partial sections help shape and support the bust, hips, and small of the back. The ends of some bones have gold-colored silk embroidered flossing, which helps prevent the tips of the bones from wearing through the fabric. The corset opens in front with fastening steel busk pieces 30.61 cm / 12.25 in. long, with five loops or eyes on the right side busk and five posts or studs on the left. These busk pieces are cushioned inside the corset with strips of long-pile cream velvet. The busk is straight, creating a vertical center line intended to support the stomach. The back panels have 26 pairs of parallel metal eyelets at the edge, laced with a single length of flat purple braid to adjust the size of the gap left in back as needed. A stabilizing waist stay tape is sewn in from the back edges to the side seam at waist level; it may originally have extended all the way to the front.

The top and bottom edges of the corset are bound with pink silk. An 8.89 cm / 3.5 in. wide machine-made length of lace that trims the entire top edge and is threaded with two rows of narrow purple ribbon. The top row of ribbon ties shut at center front.

Four large hooks, 2.54 cm / 1 in. long overall, are sewn to the exterior with two in front and two in back, placed to catch the waistband of a petticoat and keep it positioned at the hips to prevent added bulk at the waist. Two elastic garter straps hang from above each hip at the sides.

Professionally made by Maria Marcel, 16 Rue de la Paix, Paris, with a label sewn to the left side boning channel below the waist. Machine-sewn and hand-sewn.


Height (front): 31.75 cm / 12.5 in.
Height (back): 30.61 cm / 12.25 in.
Bust: 83.82 cm / 33 in. (without gap in back) Waist: 55.88 cm / 22 in. (without gap in back)


Professionally made by Maria Marcel, 16 Rue de la Paix, Paris

Museum Number



University of New Hampshire Library


Astrida Schaeffer, photographer/curator

Date Digitized


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License


The Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection digital catalog was produced by the UNH Library Digital Collection Initiative, supported in part by a grant from the Mooseplate program and New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. Additional funding provided by the E. Ruth Buxton Stephenson Memorial Fund.
Photography copyright, Astrida Schaeffer.


Corsets, 1890-1905, Paris, France, Silk satin, Pale pink, Shaped panels, Gussets, Ribbon channels, Steel boning, Steel busk, Lace trim, Ribbon, Purple (color), Lacing, Braid, Silk embroidered flossing, Gold (color), Long-pile velvet, Cream (color), Waist stay tape, Garter straps, Elastic


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