Girl's Trained Dress and Bust Pads

Artist/maker unknown, American. Worn by Martha Rebecca Griffith, American, 1867 - 1870.

Made in United States, North and Central America

c. 1868-1869

Dress: Printed wool twill, silk velvet ribbon, cotton machine-made Valenciennes lace, velvet-covered buttons with metal band, wool twill tape binding; Pads: glazed cotton plain weave with cotton stuffing

Center Front Length: 23 1/2 inches (59.7 cm) Center Back Length: 38 inches (96.5 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard C. Hughes, Jr., 2001

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Martha Griffith wore this very unusual dress when she was about two years old. It is a perfect miniature version of a typical adult woman’s day dress of the 1860s—not a party dress or costume. It’s not known why Martha’s parents chose to dress her like a grown-up, complete with a trained skirt and even small pads to fill out the bodice’s double darts.