Dress of the Week: Edith Strohn Copley

Jul 24, 2023 | Articles & Exhibits, Photo

Each week during the Here Comes the Bride exhibit, the history of one of the dresses will be featured on the website and social media. Visit these dresses and more in person from June 2 through August 12, 2023, at the David L. Pierce Art & History Center. Exhibit hours will be listed below the article.

This dress was worn by Edith Strohn (1870-1929) at her wedding to Ira C. Copley (1864-1947) at her parents’ Los Angeles home on March 3, 1892. Edith was a young socialite described as “a great favorite in Los Angeles society” and Ira Copley as “a popular young business man of Aurora, Ill.”

According to the Los Angeles Times article on the wedding, the bride entered the drawing room “looking radiant in the becoming splendor of her wedding gown of white bengaline, en traine, trimmed with white passementerie and a graceful girdle of the same.  The long, white tulle veil fell in filmy folds to the end of the train.  She wore no jewels and carried a bouquet of white violets and Roman hyacinths.”

A young Ira Copley, pictured in 1887, the year he graduated from Yale College
(Aurora Historical Society photo)

The couple would make Aurora their home.  At the time of his marriage, Ira Copley was a young attorney and manager of the Aurora Gas Light Company.  Building a successful utilities conglomerate and newspaper empire, he became a major philanthropist in the community. He also served six consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, from 1911 to 1923.

Edith Strohn, the future Mrs. Ira Copley, pictured about the time of her high school graduation
(Aurora Historical Society photo)

The Copleys were unable to have children of their own but adopted two boys, James and William.  Edith died of complications of surgery in 1929, and Ira remarried in 1931.  Edith’s dress, donated decades later, has yellowed with age.

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