Dress of the Week: Emily Dent Davis

Jun 4, 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 is the dress in which Emily Dent Davis (1820-1908) married Samuel McCarty (1810-1889) on April 13, 1853. Emily was a Chicago widow. Samuel was one of two millwright brothers from New York State who had come west to the Fox River in 1834 and were recognized as “the Founders of Aurora.” By 1853, Samuel was twice widowed with a 4-year-old daughter. His union with Emily Davis produced five children.

Emily’s two-piece patterned blue silk dress features typical styling of the era, with wide bell sleeves and a hoop skirt. While the sewing machine was just coming into use, this dress was put together by hand stitching. As was common at the time, it was probably used as Emily’s best dress for many years. This is the oldest wedding dress in the Aurora Historical Society collections.

Aurora Historical Society Collections

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