November 24, 1860: Secession Dress

Southern Belle

From the November 24, 1860 Richmond Daily Dispatch:

New Fashion for Ladies.
We observed, while on a visit to a lady friend, a bonnet and dress of Georgia Linsey and cotton, designed for the daughter of one of our leading secessionists. The dress is made in fashionable style, a la Gabrielle, and the bonnet is composed of white and black Georgia cotton, covered with a net-work of black cotton, the streamers ornamented with Palmetto trees and lone stars, embroidered in gold thread, while the feathers are formed of white and black worsted. The entire work is domestic, as well as the material, and exhibits considerable ingenuity. The idea illustrates the patriotism of the ladies, and their earnest sympathy with the great Southern movement, while its execution affords convincing proof of how independent we can be of our Northern aggressors, when we have the will to undertake and the energy to achieve.–News Letter.

The notability of the fabric’s southern origin is a symptom of the South’s great weakness in the coming conflict. They were dependent on Northern and foreign factories for almost every sort of manufactured goods, traded for their agricultural products. When trade with the North ended, and the blockade limited foreign imports, they had insufficient time to develop their manufacturing capacity de novo.

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