At the TRC Leiden we really like having the ‘story behind’ an object. What does it tell us? In this blog I would like to highlight one such story. It concerns an American wedding dress (TRC 2020.2126) from 1942, now in the TRC collection, which was designed, made and worn by Verda Ione Grove DeCoursey (1918-2014). The following account is based on information given by Rita DeCoursey, her daughter.
"This floor-length ivory coloured gown was designed and sewn by my mother, Verda Grove DeCoursey, in 1942 for her wedding on February 14, 1942 to Wesley F. DeCoursey (1918-2015). After graduating from McPherson College (in Kansas) in 1940 with a Bachelor’s in home economics, she taught at a small-town Kansas high school, saving enough money the first year to purchase a portable electric Singer sewing machine.
After completing the autumn 1941 semester of teaching, she returned to her parents' farm in south-central Iowa to prepare for her marriage to Wesley F. DeCoursey, whom she had met at McPherson College. It was at the farm that she sewed her gown. Money was scarce at that time, so the wedding was a very simple affair at their local country church. Verda continued to sew many of her own clothes the rest of her life. This gown is probably not representative of fashion at the time, because my mother always had unconventional ideas about style, and always looked attractive in what she choose to wear."