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Eliza Wilson was a woman of high style. Married to William Thomas Wilson, they were a prominent Maryland couple: she was the president of the Society of Colonial Wars for several years and he was part owner of Grace’s Quarter Ducking Club. At their large home at the corner of St. Paul and Biddle Streets in downtown Baltimore, which was designed and built especially for them, the Wilsons hosted elegant dinner parties. They also attended many similar soirées in Baltimore society and abroad. It is likely that Wilson wore this evening dress by Parisian designer Jacques Doucet at one such event. In contrast to his contemporaries, Doucet was known for his use of more delicate fabrics, such as the black silk net in this dress. This graceful look is enhanced by scattered sequins and metallic embroidery that decorate the bodice, climbing in floral sprays from the skirt’s hemline toward the waist.





Net, lace, metal sequins, silk velvet, silk satin, silk chiffon


15 inches (length - neck to waist), 34 inches (bust), 32 inches (waist), 18 inches (shoulder)

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Label reading: "Ducet/21 Rue de la Paix/Paris" Worn by Eliza Waller Beale Wilson (1853–1933)

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. William S. Hilles

Digital Publisher

Digital resource provided by the Maryland Center for History and Culture


This digital image is made available here for private study, scholarship, and research. Commercial and other uses are prohibited without the permission of the Maryland Center for History and Culture. For more information, visit the MCHC’s Reproductions and Permissions web page.