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Tag: Women’s History Month

The Remarkable Story of Ann Lowe: From Alabama to Madison Avenue

Today’s guest post comes from Margaret Powell, MA, a decorative arts historian from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her areas of concentration are textile and costume history. She is a graduate of the Smithsonian Associates–Corcoran College of Art and Design History of Decorative Arts Masters Program.

Photo of Jacqueline Kennedy in her wedding gown in the December 1966 issue of Ebony Magazine

On September 13, 1953, the New York Times featured the wedding of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier on the front page. The article contained a photograph of the bride’s intricate gown and a detailed description of its “ivory silk taffeta, embellished with interwoven bands of tucking, finished with a portrait neckline and a bouffant skirt.” The only thing missing from the coverage was the name of Ann Lowe, the dress designer.

Even today, as the Kennedy wedding gown resides in the permanent collection of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, very few people realize that this dress is the work of an African American designer. It is no novelty or a fluke—it is just one example of the countless designs created by Lowe for the Auchincloss family between 1947 and 1957. In fact, when Jacqueline’s stepsister Nina appeared in a 1955 fashion editorial in Vogue, she was wearing an Ann Lowe debut dress.

Nina Auchincloss in an Ann Lowe dress

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Thursday Photo Caption Contest: March 22

" “Smilin’ Sam” (far right) poses with his new, enthusiastic customer satisfaction team."

One man in last week’s picture wasn’t happy, but all your comments made us smile!

Our guest judge is Jackie Budell, an archives specialist who supervises groups of devoted volunteers who are currently processing the Civil War Widows files, an enormous project with thousands of documents that need to be carefully handled–you never know what may be inside the envelopes! The volunteers have found all kinds of documents and objects, including a mole and a tintype.

Congratulations to Roxanne! Jackie approached her judging duties with the care she uses to open an envelope sealed for decades, and chose your caption as the winner. Check your email for a code for 15% off in the eStore.

So what’s really happening here? These are National Archives employees from around 1960, and the original captions reads “War Records Division Gondos, Irvine, Huber, Krauskopf.” It looks like we’ll never know what happened to make Mr. Irvine so very sad….

Today’s photograph features two ladies in honor of Women’s History Month! Put your wittiest caption in the comments below!

Your caption here! 
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