In advance, I would like to apologize profusely for the sad quality of the photos...Coming across these items was the farthest thing on my mind that day and the only camera with me was my iphone, which is PITIFUL in low light. Plus I was shaking a little bit like a child with a Halloween night sugar high.
All these items come from the Old Exchange in Charleston, SC, and I didn't see any signs prohibiting photography or online sharing of images, so I'm hopefully not breaking any laws!
I highly recommend reading the history of the building on their website if you're curious: I probably should have because then I would've learned that "Charles Town" was the fourth-largest and purportedly wealthiest city in colonial America. Holy cow, NO idea. Anyway, super cool that pirates and signers of the Declaration alike were kept prisoner in the dungeon...it was incredible to press my hands against the very brick they had walked and sat on. And the ball room where George Washington danced...anyway, I may make a separate post on architecture/gardens later.
On to the artifacts! I'll reiterate some of the labels so you don't have to squint, but I THINK you should be able to click on pictures to get them larger (Edit: NOPE. Apparently they're not ALL clickable. I've got them up on my Flickr though if it's easier to see.) If you'd like to use them elsewhere (even with the wretched quality) please ask me first :)
"Lace fichu and cuffs, origin unknown" (uh oh, "fichu." Hallie Larkin would have something to say about that...)
Lace that appeared in a portrait in 1759
"Memorandum File" just looks like a stitched wallet to me but of course I couldn't see the inside. It's cute...I like it better than flamestitch.
"Wedding fan 18th century owned by Elizabeth Allen Deas." GORGEOUS.
"Huguenot Relic - Ladies' silver stomacher." This was beautiful...it looked like doily of metalwork and spangles, and I guess would have been sewn onto an actual stomacher.
Ugh, the stitching of young girls back then makes me feel woefully inadequate.
Waistcoat belonging to unknown
Waistcoat belonging to Henry Laurens
Waistcoat belonging to General William Moultrie
Waistcoat belonging to Thomas Sumpter
And my favorites...the two gowns. It must just have been my backwoods ignorance to be surprised that both were sacques...with such a thriving international port to both the Indies and England, clearly they were a lot more cosmopolitan than I first thought! It probably should not have been such a shock to me because in my area where French colonial wills exist from 1720-50, anywhere where a silk gown was mentioned, I'm guessing it would probably have been a sacque. Again, sorry for the poor quality, the phone camera and the glare off the glass cases were not helping.
First gown, a "Dove's Neck Brocade Dress" notable for the silk supposedly having been produced in South Carolina:
Is this "fly fringe"? It's very pretty trim.
The stomacher opened down the middle...is it "compere" even if it doesn't have buttons?
Closeup of the sleeve ruffle, and you can see the pleating at the hip just beyond it, I'm assuming to help the gown smooth over panniers or pocket hoops.
The sleeve cap/shoulder
Sorry, very poor shot of the back...my mother would NOT let me get down on the floor and shimmy under the case to take a picture. What do you mean, polite people don't do that in a museum? Dang.
Gown #2, a "Yellow Brocade Dress":
Close-up of self-fabric trim on sleeve
Probably linen lining from what I could see of it, and I really liked the serpentine trim.
View of the stomacher
And the woefully inadequate back-view. Very pretty gown...wish it was in good enough shape for them to put on a mannequin but the silk had so many tiny shreds in it that I'm sure they didn't want to put that much strain on it.
What do you think? Did they do a decent job dating these items? I wasn't sure about some of the wording or dates on a few labels but I'm too amateur to do any disputing. It was just lovely to have a chance to be so close to all this and I'd go back in a heartbeat if I got the chance...with a better camera.