They Wore It Well
Photos by Jim Bush

For May/June, Buffalo Spree Magazine was fortunate enough to be invited to the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site for a special fashion shoot, using their collection of 1900-era clothing. The Site, a mansion at 641 Delaware Avenue, was the home of Ansley Wilcox, a longtime friend of Theodore Roosevelt. On September 14, 1901, Roosevelt was inaugurated as our twenty-sixth president in a simple ceremony at this site.

This shot was taken in a room restored to be a typical Victorian lady’s bedroom. The clothing here includes a dressing gown made of dusty blue challis, with lavish lace trim. The blue-and white striped corded silk two-piece dress would be worn for daytime as a walking costume.

The first floor dining room shown here is bright and airy in the Georgian Revival style. The models are wearing a two-piece silk grenadine ball gown, with hand-made Duchesse lace and a white point d’espirit wedding dress. In this era, wedding dresses would be worn as evening gowns during the first year of marriage.

The Theodore Roosevelt Site is the only National Park Service location in Western New York and offers guided tours, architectural walking tours, permanent and changing exhibitions, educational programs, period gardens, and a yearly calendar of special events.

This photo, also taken in the dining room, features a white Dobby-weave cotton tennis dress. The racket may be from an earlier period.

A yearlong centennial commemoration is now underway at the Site, in recognition of the Pan-American Centennial. It will include a Commemorative Weekend on September 14-16, which includes “The Big Stick and the Square Deal,” a symposium on Roosevelt, and a Centennial Gala with keynote speaker Stephen Ambrose.

The Morning Room of the mansion features Gothic Revival styling. It was used by Ansly Wilcox as an office and study. Clothing modeled in this room includes a man’s daytime morning suit, a woman’s black silk brocade walking suit, and a copper satin blouse with pouter pigeon bodice. The Site’s Costume Resource Center, a volunteer initiative, maintains a “living collection” of period clothing which is used for educational and outreach programs. Items in the collection have been donated by volunteers and friends, and the collection is maintained by volunteer Patricia Hain.

Spree thanks Molly Quackenbush, Executive Director of the Site; Janice Tomaka, Assistant Director; Lenora Henson, Curator, and Ms. Hain. We also salute our “period-perfect” models: Elizabeth Asman, Jennifer Staub, and Aubrey Balcom.


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