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Curators' Favorites: Clothing & Personal Items

Civil War Governor Harvey's Knife

Pocket knife found on the corpse of Wisconsin Governor Louis P. Harvey after he drowned in the Tennessee River on April 19, 1862. (Museum object #1969.4) Louis P. Harvey had been the Governor of Wisconsin for only a month when...
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Posted September 21, 2011



African American Bowling Shirt

Bowling shirt designed, made and worn by Earlene Fuller of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, c. 1995. (Museum object #2008.176.5) The sport of bowling has deep roots in the Midwest and Wisconsin, but it is not usually associated with African Americans. The sport...
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Posted December 11, 2008



Silver Wedding Presents

Silver ladle and spoon given to Syndonia (Hobbins) Jackson of Madison, Wisconsin as a wedding present, 1872. (Museum object #1955.304,A) As the daughter of a respected physician and a prominent member of Madison, Wisconsin society, Syndonia Josephine Hobbins would have...
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Posted December 4, 2008



Racine Belles Movie Costume

Racine Belles baseball uniform costume worn in the 1992 movie, A League of Their Own. (Museum object #2008.145.1.1) By the time the motion picture A League of Their Own opened on July 1, 1992, most Americans had forgotten or never...
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Posted October 16, 2008



Teddy Roosevelt Campaign Bandana

Bandana featuring music score for the campaign song "We Want Teddy," used at a Milwaukee campaign rally for Theodore Roosevelt, 1912. (Museum object #1970.204) Do you for progression stand? Vote for Teddy! And reform in this great land? Vote for...
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Posted October 2, 2008



Flapper Prom Dress

Evening gown worn by Edith Evelyn Nelson to the University of Wisconsin's Junior Prom, c. 1923. (Museum object #1969.147.2) Edith Evelyn Nelson may have been a "flapper" or "bright young thing" when she attended the University of Wisconsin in the...
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Posted September 25, 2008



Brown Wedding Dress

Golden-brown silk gown worn by Miss Mary Dittberner at her 1887 wedding to Bernhard Stieg in Clintonville, Wisconsin. (Museum object #2008.129.1A-B) The white dress and veil. The bridal party. The wedding cake and honeymoon. All of the things we think...
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Posted August 21, 2008



1880s "Aesthetic" Dress

Tea gown inspired by the "Aesthetic" Movement of the late nineteenth century, worn by Annie Cronk of Oregon, Wisconsin, c. 1881. (Museum object #1952.128) Annie Cronk, the daughter of a farmer and the wife of a railroad station agent, raised...
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Posted July 10, 2008



Liberace's Performance Jacket

An elaborately beaded jacket worn by pianist, performer, and Wisconsin native Liberace during his performances in the late 1970s. (Museum object #2008.77.1) Liberace, the flamboyant pianist, may have made a name for himself in glitzy Las Vegas, but he grew...
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Posted July 3, 2008



Young Girl's Burial Dress

Burial dress for a young girl offered for sale by the A.A. Schmidt & Sons Funeral Home, Menomonee Falls, c. 1900. (Museum object #1983.267.7) When a young girl passed away during the late nineteenth century, her parents could purchase special...
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Posted May 15, 2008



De Langlade Fur Trade Pouch

Quilled buckskin pouch used by Charles de Langlade to carry his fur trade papers in northern Wisconsin, mid to late 1700s. (Museum object #1955.186) This pouch, presented to the Wisconsin Historical Society in 1888 by Charles de Langlade Grignon, represents...
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Posted April 10, 2008



1960s Paper Dress

Paper dress made by Scott Paper Co., 1966-1967. (Museum object #1969.184.13) Disposable paper clothes seemed the wave of the future in the mid 1960s. At the time, living in space looked like a real possibility, and, as one textile designer...
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Posted April 3, 2008



Beaver Top Hat

Top hat made from beaver felt and worn by Green Bay resident Morgan L. Martin, c. 1825. (Museum object #1968.644) In 1826, Morgan L. Martin, a lawyer by training, left his home in Martinsburg, New York for Detroit, Michigan, which,...
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Posted March 13, 2008



"Space Age" Brassiere

Strapless bra worn by Clara Kuester of Clintonville, Wisconsin and made by Jantzen, Inc. in the early 1950s. (Museum object #2000.74.28) Whether focusing on style or focusing on support, the brassiere has undergone many dramatic transformations since its first use...
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Posted March 6, 2008



Courtship Advice Fan

Victorian scrapbook fan made by Julia Morris of Madison, decorated with suggestions about courtship, love and marriage, 1895-1899. (Museum object #1955.480A) We often tend to think of women from the conservative Victorian era as demure and ladylike in their behavior,...
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Posted February 14, 2008



Governor Dreyfus's Red Vest

Red velveteen vest worn by Wisconsin Governor Lee Sherman Dreyfus, c. 1975. (Museum object #1982.450.15) In 1978 Wisconsin chose Lee Sherman Dreyfus, then chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP), as its 40th governor. Those who met Dreyfus found...
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Posted January 10, 2008



First Lady's Irene Evening Gown

Garnet velvet evening gown worn by Wisconsin First Lady Charlotte McAleer Kohler to President Eisenhower's 1953 Inauguration Ball. (Museum object #1960.211.2) The sparkling glamour of Hollywood in its heyday inspired designers to clothe their movie star clients in innovative and...
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Posted December 27, 2007



Chris Farley's Black Sheep Jacket

Campaign jacket worn by Chris Farley in the 1996 movie Black Sheep. (Museum object #2007.86.1) Around 1995 burly comic Chris Farley, a Madison, Wisconsin native, best known for his five years on the television show Saturday Night Live (SNL), decided...
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Posted December 6, 2007



1930s Permanent Wave Machine

Frederics permanent wave machine used in Crisella's Beauty Shop in Blanchardville, Wisconsin, late 1930s. (Museum object #1986.79.2) Prior to the twentieth century, a woman with straight hair who desired curls had to spend hours heating curling irons over a flame...
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Posted September 20, 2007



1850s Personal Appointment Calendar

Weekly appointment book made of ivory and used by Wisconsin politician and businessman Cassius Fairchild of Madison, Wisconsin during the 1850s. Maker unknown. (Museum object #1971.19) Today, most people consider daily life to be busier than in generations past, with...
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Posted August 23, 2007



"Rosie the Riveter" Coveralls

Women's coveralls worn by Teresa Kuykendall while working in a factory in Beloit, Wisconsin during World War II. (Museum object #2007.92.1) Teresa Kuykendall of Beloit, Wisconsin was a real life "Rosie the Riveter" during World War II. In 1943 she...
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Posted August 16, 2007



OshKosh B'Gosh Sewing Machine

Industrial sewing machine used by seamstresses to make one of Wisconsin's signature products for more than forty years at OshKosh B'Gosh, Inc., 1950s-1997. (Museum object #1997.54.1A-D) Not so long ago, most people thought of overalls when they heard the word...
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Posted August 9, 2007



British Open Golf Glove

Golf glove worn by Sherri Steinhauer of Madison, Wisconsin to win the 2006 Weetabix Women's British Open, August 3-6, 2006. (Museum object #2007.81.2) As she removed this glove from her hand after chipping out of a greenside bunker at the...
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Posted August 2, 2007



Milwaukee Light Guard Uniform Coat

Milwaukee Light Guard coat worn by Captain John C. Starkweather, 1858-1861. (Museum object #1957.282) John Converse Starkweather was a born leader, a successful lawyer, and a distinguished Civil War officer. Born in Cooperstown, New York, in 1830, Starkweather's education began...
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Posted July 19, 2007



Gold Rush Shawl

Chinese silk shawl purchased in California during the Gold Rush by Joseph Stroebe of Winnebago County, Wisconsin in 1855. (Museum object #1960.10) In the midst of the California gold rush Joseph Stroebe of Winnebago County, Wisconsin went west in 1854...
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Posted July 12, 2007



1809 Map Sampler

Sampler embroidered by Cecilia Lewis at a boarding school in 1809. (Museum object #1984.294.1) Cecilia Lewis of Flushing, New York made this map sampler when she was a school girl of eighteen. On her embroidered map of the United States...
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Posted June 14, 2007



'Kewtie' Woman's Razor

Early woman's "Kewtie" brand razor purchased in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1940s. (Museum object #1976.392.43) While rapidly raising hemlines on women's skirts may be the more readily-recognized "shocking" change in American fashions after World War I, at about the same time a...
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Posted June 7, 2007



Suzy Favor Hamilton's Olympic Track Shoes

Pair of Nike running spikes worn by Suzy Favor Hamilton during the 2000 track season. (Museum object #2006.110.1A-B) Born in Stevens Point, Wisconsin in 1968, Suzy Favor Hamilton became one of the greatest all time middle-distance women track runners in...
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Posted April 12, 2007



1857 Promenade Dress

Promenade dress worn by Hannah Billinghurst of Juneau, Wisconsin, 1857. (Museum object #1955.1449,A) As wife of United States Congressman Charles Billinghurst in the mid-nineteenth century, Hannah Billinghurst of Juneau (Dodge Co.), Wisconsin would have been expected to attend state functions...
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Posted March 15, 2007



Mrs. Fairchild's Worth Gown

Gown made by Charles Frederick Worth of Paris for Frances Fairchild of Madison, Wisconsin, 1880. (Museum object #1945.960,A) The dream of nearly any fashion-minded wealthy American woman in the late 19th century was to own a gown especially designed for...
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Posted February 22, 2007



Scotch Giant's Shoe Last

Shoe last (form) used to make boots for Frederick Shadick of Cottage Inn, Wisconsin, 1849-1854. (Museum object #1968.15.1) Around 1849, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Shadick moved from New York City to the small village of Cottage Inn, Wisconsin to settle...
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Posted February 15, 2007



Child's Chamber Pot and Washbasin

Child's ceramic toilet set used by Elizabeth Marshall of Shorewood Hills, Wisconsin, c. 1905. (Museum object #1947.909,A-B) The early twentieth century middle-to-upper class American child was born into a society that offered a vast array of novel goods designed specifically...
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Posted February 1, 2007



Boy's Dress

Dress worn by John Kiser as a child near Oregon, Wisconsin, c. 1856. (Museum object #1950.5744) John Bonsack Kiser grew up on a farm near Oregon, just south of Madison in Dane County, Wisconsin. Born on May 2, 1855, he...
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Posted January 4, 2007



Sue Ann Thompson's Inauguration Gown

Inauguration gown worn by Wisconsin First Lady Sue Ann Thompson at her first inauguration ball, 1987. (Museum object #2003.61.1a-b) “Glitter, glitter, everywhere” was how the Wisconsin State Journal reported Governor Tommy Thompson’s inauguration ball held January 5, 1987. The Capital...
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Posted December 28, 2006



Miss Annie Mae's Church Hat

Hat worn by Annie Mae McClain to services at the Tabernacle Community Baptist Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Museum object #2006.103.2) “But every woman that prayeth or propesieth with her head uncovered dishonoreth her head.” I Corinthians 11:5 Annie Mae McClain of...
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Posted November 30, 2006



Potawatomi Beaded “Soldier Coat”

Army jacket decorated with Native American beadwork worn by Chief Simon Onanguisse Kahquados of the Forest County Potawatomi. (Museum object #1943.330) An elder spokesman for the Potawatomi Indians, Chief Simon Onanguisse Kahquados made a number of trips to Washington, D.C....
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Posted November 22, 2006



Lice Comb from Fort Crawford

Bone lice comb from site of first Fort Crawford in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, 1816-1829. (Museum object #1997.62.11941) Everyday life at a frontier fort in the early nineteenth century was no easy affair. When the United States Army decided to...
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Posted November 9, 2006



Spiritualist's Séance Robe

Séance robe worn by Louise Parke during her work as a Spiritualist in Wisconsin, 1895-1905. (Museum object #1958.650) Louise (Kingsley) Parke was a member of a Madison family well known for their ability to communicate with the deceased. Her father,...
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Posted October 26, 2006



Milwaukee Braves Baseball Jersey

Road jersey worn by Milwaukee Braves first baseman Joe Adcock in 1957. (Museum object #2006.68.1) For most of the 1950s, the Milwaukee Braves were consistently one of the best teams in the National League. One reason was slugging first baseman...
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Posted October 19, 2006



X-Ray Shoe Fitting Machine

Simplex fluoroscope machine made by X-Ray Shoe Fitter, Inc., Milwaukee, Wisconsin and most likely used in a Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin shoe store, c. 1945-1955. (Museum object #1992.109) In the late 1940s, Noren's Shoes of Sturgeon Bay attracted customers with the...
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Posted September 28, 2006



Happy Days Bowling Shirt

Leopard Lodge League bowling shirt costume worn on Happy Days television series, 1977-1984. (Museum object #2006.39.1) Like the fictional Shotz brewery featured in the television series Laverne and Shirley that drew from one stereotype for which Milwaukee, Wisconsin is particularly...
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Posted September 7, 2006



Early Two-Piece Bathing Suit

Two-piece bathing suit worn by Lois Nelson of Racine, Wisconsin, c. 1947. (Museum object #2003.113.6A-B) More than a decade before Brian Hyland belted out his 1960 ode to the famous “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,” Racine, Wisconsin...
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Posted August 24, 2006



Shotz Brewery Costume

Shotz Brewery smock used in Laverne and Shirley television series, 1976-1980. (Museum object #2006.38.1) Introduced in the show's opening credits along side an undeniably catchy theme song, the lavender Shotz Brewery smock -- like Laverne's famous "L"-embroidered sweaters -- is...
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Posted August 17, 2006



Auschwitz Concentration Camp Sweater

Concentration camp sweater worn by Tadeusz Kowalczyk while a prisoner at Auschwitz during World War II. (Museum object #1985.92) In late June 1940 German soldiers arrested Polish veterinarian Tadeusz "Ted" Kowalczyk while he was tending animals at Polish President Wladyslaw...
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Posted April 20, 2006



1930s UW Gym Suit

University of Wisconsin student gym suit worn by George Williams, 1933-1934. (Museum object #2005.144.1.1-2) In the midst of the Depression, George Williams of Sugar Grove (Vernon County), Wisconsin managed to attend the University of Wisconsin in Madison during the 1933-1934...
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Posted April 13, 2006



FitzRandolph World Cup Racing Skin

Casey FitzRandolph’s racing skin worn during the 2003-2004 World Cup speed skating events. (Museum object #2005.146.1) While watching long-track speed skaters during the 2002 Olympics, commentator Bob Costas wondered why Wisconsin dominated the sport and concluded, "It must be the...
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Posted February 9, 2006



Milwaukee Orphanage Shirt

Shirt given to a child leaving St. Joseph Orphanage, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, c. 1920. (Museum object #2005.82.1) Around 1920, the St. Joseph Orphanage in Milwaukee sent seven-year-old Frank D. Drewezicki to another orphanage in Marinette, Wisconsin. Before leaving, the staff at...
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Posted December 8, 2005



Alice in Dairyland Dress Model

Winning entry for the first Alice in Dairyland dress design, 1948. (Museum object #2005.157.1) On June 28, 1948, the Wisconsin Centennial Dairy Committee informed Miss Betty Lou Jahn of Milwaukee, the maker of the model dress seen to the left...
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Posted December 1, 2005



Deer Hide Jacket

Deer hide jacket of Ruel Garnich Baldwin, c. 1915. (Museum object #2005.147.1) Like many young men living in Ashland, Wisconsin, Ruel Garnich Baldwin (1893-1978) participated in the yearly hunting season. Sometime between 1913 and 1916 he had the hides from...
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Posted November 17, 2005



"Spanish Lady" Halloween Costume

"Spanish Lady" costume worn for Halloween by Virginia Shaver in 1922. (Museum object #2003.29.1) For Halloween in 1922 fourteen year-old Virginia L. Shaver of La Crosse, Wisconsin decided to dress up as a "Spanish Lady." To do this she took...
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Posted October 27, 2005



Brett Favre's Packers Jersey

Green Bay Packers football jersey worn by Brett Favre during game against Chicago Bears, January 2, 2005. (Museum object #2005.83.1) Just a week after the passing of Reggie White, his former teammate and friend, Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre...
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Posted September 8, 2005



"Midget Wedding" Dance Costume

Kehl School of Dancing’s "Midget Wedding" Costume, 1940. (Museum object #2005.108.1A-C) On June 21, 1940 eight-year old Virginia Lee Kehl wore this costume, consisting of a dress, trunks, headpiece, and veil, to portray the bride in the Kehl School of...
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Posted June 23, 2005



1960s Prom Dress

Dress worn by Marti Hall to the spring prom at Madison West High School in 1966. (Museum object #2004.135.1) After being invited to West High School's senior prom in Madison, Wisconsin by Jim Wilson, Martha "Marti" Hall set out to...
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Posted May 19, 2005



Purim Costume

Costume worn by Gary Ray Howards of Racine during the Jewish holiday of Purim, 1957. (Museum object #2003.20.2) Each spring, usually in the month of March, Jews all over the world celebrate the annual festive holiday of Purim. Jewish custom...
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Posted March 17, 2005



Wittenberg Grays Baseball Uniform

Baseball uniform worn by William Gates, second baseman for the Wittenberg Grays in the early 1920s. (Museum object #1975.90A-B) In the late nineteenth century, many small Wisconsin towns fielded baseball teams to compete with those of surrounding communities for fun...
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Posted March 3, 2005



Woman Suffrage Tunic

Parade tunic worn by Wisconsin suffrage supporter during Republican National Convention in Chicago, Illinois, 1916. (Museum object #1956.1450) Led by Theodora Youmans, President of the Wisconsin Woman Suffrage Association (WWSA), Wisconsin suffrage supporters journeyed to Chicago on June 7, 1916...
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Posted February 24, 2005



Arndt Vest

Vest worn by Charles C.P. Arndt when he was shot on the floor of the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature, 1842. (Museum object #1963.300) On February 11, 1842 the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature met in Madison only to be interrupted by the shooting...
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Posted February 4, 2005



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