||Slovakian-American costume, 1903-1965
Gift of Peggy Powers (1996.91.1-.14)
Anna Matras (Cova) Hevier wore this costume at Milwaukee folk fairs between 1940 and 1965. Most of the garments were part of an original folk costume handmade in Slovakia while other parts of the ensemble were added or modified in Wisconsin. Anna was born outside Bratislava, Slovakia and immigrated to Milwaukee in 1905. She was involved for decades in community and church ethnic celebrations.
||Moravian folk costume, 1900-1925
Gift of Mrs. Olga Dana (1957.168-.170f)
This costume came to Wisconsin from Kyjov, Moravia, where folk costumes were symbols of national pride and of opposition to Germanization in the nineteenth century. Moravians took great pride in their embroidery. Women spent long nights throughout the year working on these elaborate pieces of art. Often created as part of dowries, embroidered dresses became family heirlooms as they were passed from generation to generation and were brought to America.
This costume likely was made during the golden age of Moravian folk embroidery. The apron (za'tera) is the best clue about its date and the location of origin. Between 1900 and 1925 the fashion for aprons in Ratiskovice, Moravia called for a center strip of needle lace that joined two wide panels of embroidery on either side. The lace from Ratiskovice was specific to the area. The apron traditionally had a four-inch band of coarse, cream-colored bobbin lace with red and green inserts added to the apron edge.
The headscarf probably was imported from Austria, as many such headpieces were. Moravian women adopted them for festival purposes and they became traditional.