Welcome to our third Pink Saturday. Pink Saturday is hosted by Beverly at this location. Be sure to click on the link (or the picture to the right) to go to her blog and see a list of the other participants in this weeks Pink Saturday.
I liken myself, as a dealer in a shop such as A Classy Flea, very much to a treasure hunter. Sure, my first goal is to find enough “stuff” that someone else will want to buy at a price that allows me to resell it and make a profit. But what really keeps me going is that, through much hard work and perseverance, every once in a while I DO find a real treasure. You can ask any dealer in our shop, and probably 99.9% of dealers in shops like ours around the world, why they do this and the response will be the same: “It’s the thrill of the hunt!” Most of you readers know the chill that runs through the body when you are browsing through your favorite thrift store, outlet store, or a sale at your favorite retailer, and find that perfect thing that you weren’t even looking for at a price that’s more of a ‘steal’ than a ‘deal’!
My wife and I were strolling through an Estate Sale in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, not too far from the shop. The lady who lived in the house had recently passed away at the age of 106! She was obviously a very well-to-do woman and a world traveler. Even though we primarily search for furniture and decorative accessories at these kinds of sales, we were both drawn to a side bedroom that was filled with vintage clothes and hats. We bought all 36 hats and several nice outfits. The one thing my wife wanted that I was hesitant about was a large white box that held what was obviously a very old wedding dress. Someone had tried there best to protect the dress, storing it inside-out, but is was a total loss. The raw silk was in such bad shape that any that remained crumbled at the slightest touch. But what attracted my wife to the box were some of the accessories: gloves, collars, hankies and the such. Needless to say, that box came home with us along with all of those hats (and a few treasures for me, too).
The OMG moment came when we carefully unpacked the box to sort out all of the accessories and take a better look at the dress. Packed along with the wedding dress was another dress that we now believe was probably the bride’s debutante dress. A long flowing bustle skirt topped by a tiny top with huge balloon sleeves (please click on each of the pictures to see a larger view!):
Remember the lady who’s estate this came from? We have evidence that this dress belonged to her mother-in-law, who would have been 16 years old in 1890, the approximate time-frame for this outfit.
Let’s take a closer look at the skirt:
Here are some dimensions to help you visualize size:
Length from hook to loop: 22-1/4”
Waist: Difficult to measure.
Length (front): 38”
Length (back): 48”
Hem: about 120” (10 feet) around!
Length (back): 16”
Bust: Couldn’t measure because of the sleeves.
Length: 9-1/4" Toe to heel
Width: 2-1/2" across widest part of sole!
When it comes to antiques, provenance is everything. Going back to the estate sale, it was at the estate of Mrs. Albert Worth Hobby, Jr. She died in 2008 at the age of 106. That would have put her birth year in 1902. Her husband’s father was Albert Worth, Sr. When I finally got around to discarding the wedding dress, I took the top of the box and put it in place. This is the first time I had noticed the top, as the contents had remained in the box bottom, nestled inside the box top. Here’s what was written on the top of the box:
“Mrs Albert Worth Hobby, Senior’s
wedding dress, slippers, fan, gloves, hose.
Also another dress, slippers, fan, hose
that were in her trousseau.”
When we first looked at the dresses we wondered who they belonged to. Was it the owner of the estate or was it her mother’s?This was the answer we were searching for! It was her husband’s mother’s. This lead me on a search to identify Mrs. Albert Worth Hobby, Sr. Here is a synopsis of what I discovered:
Elizabeth Gooch, born 1874, was the daughter of J.W.M. Gooch and wife, Alice Adams, of Cedar Hill, TN., and the granddaughter of James Gooch and wife, Sarah (Sally)Porter. She died Feb. 4, 1941 in Atlanta, GA. Married Dr. Albert Worth Hobby 1890s-1900 ca. Dr. A.Worth H0bby born July 28, 1872, died September 8, 1924 in Brentwood, TN on property he owned at corner of Granny White Pike & Murray Lane; killed by stroke of lightening. Both A.Worth & Elizabeth are buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Nashville, in Sec.22 Lot no.W 1/3 150. They had 2 sons - Dr. A. Worth Hobby, who was a physician, of Atlanta, GA in 1941 and William Francis Hobby, a chemist for TN State Highway Dept in 1941. Albert Jr. went to Vanderbilt University medical school. Albert Jr. had a son, Lovicworth Hobby of Atlanta.
I had the pleasure of meeting Lovic at the estate sale. He is 86 years old, himself!
If you are still reading, I really appreciate your time. I hope I have conveyed the excitement I experienced, not just with the discovery of the dress, but also the revelations during research. Normally, this is where I put our disclaimer in that items shown on our blog are for sale only to our customers who see our items in person. However, I will be posting this dress in our online store next week . You can see our store on Ruby Lane here. Since you will be able to purchase this dress there, I have decided to offer it here, first. If you mention you saw it on the blog, I’ll pay the shipping. Contact us for payment options.
Pink Bustle Dress with Accessories, circa 1890: $795 (SHEL)