Dress of the Week: Susan “Susie” Hubbard Morley

Aug 28, 2023 | Articles & Exhibits

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 extended through September 9, 2023, at the David L. Pierce Art & History Center. Exhibit hours will be listed below the article.

This dress was worn by Susan “Susie” N. Crater Hubbard (1851-1875), the adoptive daughter of Nelson and Mary Hubbard, for her wedding to Thomas Nelson Morley (1843-1881) on January 1, 1874 in Yorkville.

This Kelly green dress in made of silk poplin, a sturdy mix of silk and wool.  While the sewing machine had been in general use for about twenty years by this time, this dress was assembled by hand stitching.  At the time, it was common to have a dress made for a wedding (in whatever color the bride chose) that would afterward become the lady’s “best dress,” worn for important occasions.  This dress features an exaggerated “bustle” in the back, an essential part of 1870s fashion.

About a year after the marriage, on February 15, 1875, the Yorkville couple were blessed with a child, Nelson Thomas Morley.  Childbirth carries risks for the mother, and unfortunately, eleven days after giving birth, Susie died on February 26, 1875, from complications of the birth. According to her tombstone in Elmwood Cemetery, Yorkville, she was “Aged 23 years, 3 months and 14 days.”  Son Nelson was adopted and raised by Susie’s own adoptive parents, Nelson and Mary Hubbard.

The dress was donated to the Aurora Historical Society in 1946.

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