Elizabeth Pitkin Porter's Wedding Dress
Elizabeth Pitkin Porter (1719-1798) of East Hartford is the first documented wearer of this patterned silk dress, which is a brocaded silk woven in several colors, on a patterned ground weave. The large, dense floral design seen on the fabric suggests a mid-late 1730s date. It is possible, therefore, that Elizabeth’s gown was not brand new for her own wedding (Elizabeth and Moses were married in 1742), but perhaps a dress made up from an earlier event for herself or another woman. The use of shading adds a three-dimensional quality to the floral design, achieving a more naturalistic effect. The fabric is likely English, though the narrow width of the fabric (at about 15 ¾” wide) suggests a possible Dutch origin.
- Catharine Huntington
Catharine Huntington (1887-1987) also wore Pitkin's wedding dress. Seen to the left, this black and white photograph has been hand-colored to indicate how it would have looked when Catharine wore it around the start of the 20th century.
In its current construction, the gown more closely dates to about 1770. Pitkin was one of a very small number of Connecticut River Valley inhabitants who had the resources to afford an expensive fabric like a patterned silk. As such, the gown would have been re-made for its wearer as fashion changed.