The day after I finished the post on the 1870 letter from Francis Woodruff to his son, William, I found four Godey reprints dating back to 1970 that probably had not seen the light of day since my mom purchased them through the mail from McCall’s that year; they were still in their original cardboard mailing envelope.
The Woodruffs were well-to-do farmers in Elizabeth, NJ, but whether daughters Emma and Phebe would have been adorned to such an extent at that time, I have no idea. But, perhaps, like many people today who have subscriptions to Vogue and other fashion magazines, the Woodruff girls enjoyed leafing through whatever Godey’s magazines may have been in their possession.
In any event, this is what we ladies may have been wrapped up in 143 years ago had we been members of the upper middle-class—one thing’s for sure, the weight of those outfits would have made them great calorie-burners! (For more on Godey and his magazine, click here. For tips on how to sit in an 1870s Victorian bustle dress or create a Victorian dress of your own (!), visit Historical Sewing.)