Tuesday Talk—“Compelled to pad and wad”: Spinal Curvatures and Dress in Nineteenth-Century America
Because of the historic stigma that surrounds physical disabilities, a misinformed narrative that disabled people did not affect their communities, belongings, and environments has persisted. Consequently, disabled people’s agency tends to be limited, if not erased, from historic records. Material culture related to disability, however, helps restore their histories and presence.
This talk examines the clothing worn, designed, and altered by women with spinal curvatures in the mid-nineteenth century, including Rebecca Noyes Chase Cram’s 1853 wedding dress that resides in the DAR Museum’s collection. By giving attention to these extant garments, we begin to understand how clothing mitigated social discomfort, fought against harmful stereotypes, and reduced a disability’s visibility.
Speaker: Emily Bach, Textile Conservation Technician, National Museum of African American History and Culture
The event is free, but pre-registration is requested. This event is taking place in-person but will be streaming online.
Institution or Organization name - DAR Museum