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Margaretta Howard Ridgely likely purchased this royal blue, silk moiré visiting dress during her travels through England and France in 1870. Black soutache cording embellishes the dress which closes in the front with metal hooks and eyes and black thread-covered wooden buttons. Ridgely's husband, Charles Ridgely (1838–1872), did not survive the trip and passed away in 1872, upon which Margaretta entered mourning, wearing only blacks, greys, and later dull purples. This dress, so eye-catching and vibrant, would have been inappropriate to wear in mourning and was packed away, never to be worn again.



circa 1868


Watered silk faille, soutache cording, metal


54 inches (length - front), 63 inches (length - back), 32 inches (bust), 25 inches (waist), 17 inches (shoulder)

Object ID


Resource ID



Worn by Margaretta Sophia Howard Ridgely (1824–1904)

Credit Line

Estate of Miss Eliza Ridgley

Digital Publisher

Digital resource provided by the Maryland Center for History and Culture


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