Wedding Dresses through the DecadesJanuary 17, 2020 - March 1, 2020

Buy your exhibit tickets now! $10 per person (children under 5 free)



Stories of our community will come to life through wedding gowns on display at Oaklands Mansion. Step back into time and experience the common threads that weave our lives together as we explore women’s history, fashion history, cultural history and the history of our community. Over fifty gowns will be placed on loan and exhibited, most for the first time. The “Wedding Dresses Through the Decades” exhibit in Maney Hall at Oaklands Mansion will take place from January 17 through March 1, 2020.

1949 Kulakowski mom

Vintage gowns from the past 100 years will be on display along with brides’ photos and stories from their wedding day. During this exhibit, guests will have the rare opportunity to view items from, not only the museum’s collection, but also elegant and fashionable wedding dresses worn by ladies from Murfreesboro and around the country. Also on exhibit this year are wedding ring quilts on loan from members of our community.

“These treasured garments reveal stories and secrets of the past and have been stored for decades under beds and in the back of closets,” said Mary Beth Nevills, Education Director of Oaklands, “We look forward to sharing with you this year’s exhibit, full of new dresses from our community’s past.”

Witness the changes in fashion from different areas, eras and cultures as we transcend time to the modern day bride. The exhibit will be open daily, Monday-Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Sundays 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Admission to the exhibit is $10.00 per person and is open to the public. Mansion tours are available at regular rates during regular museum hours and combination tickets for the exhibition and house tours are available at a reduced rate. Group tour rates are available with a reservation.

This exhibit is sponsored in part by the Human Sciences Department of Middle Tennessee State University. For more information, contact Mary Beth Nevills at Oaklands (615) 893-0022 or email mb@oaklandsmansion.org

Tickets and Field Trip Request Forms

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Purchase exhibit tickets here!




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1870’s
Oaklands Collection
This elegant, cream brocade wedding gown features a tiny 20-inch waist highlighted by a laced back. It accented the bride, Mrs. Nimmie Jenkins Rucker, as she walked down the aisle. The gown has a scalloped train with accents of satin and capped sleeves. It was given to Oaklands by Mrs. Dorothy Eans.
1870’s
Oaklands Collection
This elegant, cream brocade wedding gown features a tiny 20-inch waist highlighted by a laced back. It accented the bride, Mrs. Nimmie Jenkins Rucker, as she walked down the aisle. The gown has a scalloped train with accents of satin and capped sleeves. It was given to Oaklands by Mrs. Dorothy Eans.
1892
Oaklands Collection
Henrietta May Codeling
December 27, 1892 at Bloor St. Presbyterian Church in Toronto, Canada
This wedding dress of cream wool is as soft as it is warm. The pleated, high-neck bodice is adorned with delicate, hand-woven lace. The lace is also found on the cuffs, which are accented by small satin bows. This dress has a tiny, 21-inch waist and a sweeping train.
1892
Oaklands Collection
Henrietta May Codeling
December 27, 1892 at Bloor St. Presbyterian Church in Toronto, Canada
This wedding dress of cream wool is as soft as it is warm. The pleated, high-neck bodice is adorned with delicate, hand-woven lace. The lace is also found on the cuffs, which are accented by small satin bows. This dress has a tiny, 21-inch waist and a sweeping train.
1899
Sarah “Sadie” Eleanor Orr & David Groff Douglas
June 21, 1899
Orville, Ohio
Sadie did not want her wedding day to end so the couple was married on the longest day of the year!
1899
Sarah “Sadie” Eleanor Orr & David Groff Douglas
June 21, 1899
Orville, Ohio
Sadie did not want her wedding day to end so the couple was married on the longest day of the year!
1900’s
Oaklands Collection
Unknown Bride from Chicago, Illinois or Waterville, Maine
Philbrick Family
This mystery dress was recently discovered in a home of the Philbrick family along with four other wedding dresses. The family could identify all but this one, which has a tag identifying it as a Philbrick dress.  Mr. John Philbrick, who has shared the dress, notes that the tag with the family name is in his mother’s handwriting, but they have a photo of his mother in her 1900’s wedding dress and it did not match this one. His sister wore their paternal grandmother’s dress at their golden anniversary, however that dress is not this one either. There is only one member of the family in that generation still around, however she does not recognize the dress. The family has queried all of the cousins and has searched online resources for a family wedding around 1900 with no luck.  Although lost about the identity of this dress, the Philbrick family feels that it is too beautiful to simply hide in a closet. They are delighted to have the opportunity for it to be displayed.
The stays, inside the corseting of the dress, are stamped with “Warren S. Featherbone.” The Featherbone stays were becoming popular in the 1890’s and were shown in newspaper advertising in the mid-1890’s.
1900’s
Oaklands Collection
This satin gown dating to the 1900’s, is an example of transitioning fashion from the full skirt to the sleek lines of the 1910’s.
1900/1941
1900
Estella Nace Crockett & Renwick Elvin Crockett
June 12, 1900
Delphi, Indiana1941
Ruth Crockett Walker & John Walker
March 8, 1941
Topeka, Kansas
Renwick’s suit, including the pants, vest, coat, and suspenders were on display along with the suitcase in which it was stored. The dress was worn by Estella to marry Renwick in 1900. After Estella passed away in 1934, Estella & Renwick’s daughter, Ruth, wore the dress when she married in 1941.
1910
Oaklands Collection
Zula Zong Reynolds & Dean Stelle Rising
November 23, 1910
David City, Nebraska
The couple was married on the day before Thanksgiving.
Transcription of handwritten note by the couple’s son, Robert, to his nephew. Note is dated January 11, 1977
Dear Dean,
We really intended getting the wedding dress to the museum, but we have run out of time. Frustrations yes, time no. I’m sure you have a photo of mom wearing it in a seating pose. The locket (we’ve not found) was a wedding gift from DSR. The photo was taken in the summer of 1911.
R.
1910
Oaklands Collection
Zula Zong Reynolds & Dean Stelle Rising
November 23, 1910
David City, Nebraska
The couple was married on the day before Thanksgiving.
Transcription of handwritten note by the couple’s son, Robert, to his nephew. Note is dated January 11, 1977
Dear Dean,
We really intended getting the wedding dress to the museum, but we have run out of time. Frustrations yes, time no. I’m sure you have a photo of mom wearing it in a seating pose. The locket (we’ve not found) was a wedding gift from DSR. The photo was taken in the summer of 1911.
R.
1910
Oaklands Collection
Zula Zong Reynolds & Dean Stelle Rising
November 23, 1910
David City, Nebraska
The couple was married on the day before Thanksgiving.
Transcription of handwritten note by the couple’s son, Robert, to his nephew. Note is dated January 11, 1977
Dear Dean,
We really intended getting the wedding dress to the museum, but we have run out of time. Frustrations yes, time no. I’m sure you have a photo of mom wearing it in a seating pose. The locket (we’ve not found) was a wedding gift from DSR. The photo was taken in the summer of 1911.
R.
1914
Lula Swann Morgan & Charles Morgan
July 7, 1914
Huntington, West Virginia
Lula made her own wedding dress while Charles worked as both a grocer and mortician.
No wedding photo available.
1935
Violet Lent Keever & James Keever
July 7, 1935
Skidmore, Missouri
This sweet pink dress with embroidered flowers was made by the bride for her wedding day. It was also worn 65 years later by her granddaughter, Vicki, to her wedding rehearsal dinner in 2000. Vicki’s wedding dress is
also included in the exhibit.
1935
Violet Lent Keever & James Keever
July 7, 1935
Skidmore, Missouri
This sweet pink dress with embroidered flowers was made by the bride for her wedding day. It was also worn 65 years later by her granddaughter, Vicki, to her wedding rehearsal dinner in 2000. Vicki’s wedding dress is
also included in the exhibit.
1935
Oaklands Collection
Pauline Hershkowitz Weinerman & Jesse Weinerman
September 8, 1935
Being an astute shopper, Pauline purchased her gown in 1929 just prior to the stock market crash. Due to The Great Depression, Pauline & Jesse were engaged for six years so they could save money for the wedding and apartment furnishings. Many of Pauline’s friends borrowed the gown over the next several years and magically, it fit brides of all sizes! This beautiful dress features a silk sheath, a delicate lace overlay dress and an additional overlay with a long split train accented by sleeves and small satin ruffles.
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