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Date Range From
1915
Date Range To
1925
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
COTTON
Catalogue Number
P20180003002
Material Type
Artifact
Date Range From
1915
Date Range To
1925
Materials
COTTON
No. Pieces
1
Length
111
Width
34
Description
PURPLE FLORAL-PATTERNED SHEATH DRESS WITH CREAM MESH NECKLINE AND RUFFLED CAP SLEEVES. DRESS HAS CREAM MESH OVER TOPS OF SHOULDERS AND ALONG NECKLINE; FRONT HAS V-NECKLINE WITH HIGHER NECKLINE IN THE BACK; DRESS IS KNEE-CALF LENGTH AND FLARES AT KNEES, WITH RUFFLES ABOVE FLARE. FABRIC IS THIN; DRESS MACHINE-STITCHED, WITH SEAM RUNNING ACROSS BODY UNDER AT TOP OF CHEST. DRESS HAS PERSPIRATION STAINING UNDER SLEEVES; DRESS FRONT HAS MINOR STAINING ON MESH AND ON CHEST; SEAMS INSIDE DRESS HAVE FRAYED THREADS; OVERALL VERY GOOD CONDITION.
Subjects
CLOTHING-OUTERWEAR
Historical Association
PERSONAL CARE
History
ON MARCH 12, 2018, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN INTERVIEWED KERR WRIGHT REGARDING HER DONATION OF A HANDBAG AND DRESS FROM THE 1920S. WRIGHT ACQUIRED THE OBJECTS FROM HER MOTHER UPON HER PASSING. THE OBJECTS BELONGED TO WRIGHT’S MATERNAL GRANDMOTHER, CLARA SAXON, PRIOR TO HER DEATH IN 1924. WRIGHT RECALLED HER FAMILY’S HISTORY AND THE CIRCUMSTANCES THAT LED TO WRIGHT’S MOTHER ACQUIRING THE OBJECTS, STATING, ““1924. [MY] MOM [LILY WRIGHT] WAS BORN ON SEPTEMBER 29 [1924] AND CLARA PASSED AWAY…ON NOVEMBER 22 [1924].” “[MY MOTHER WAS] SIX WEEKS OLD AND HER MOTHER DIED. THERE WAS NEVER ANY QUESTION THAT HER GRANDPARENTS AUTOMATICALLY [LOOKED] AFTER HER. I REALLY DON’T KNOW TOO MUCH ABOUT CLARA’S HUSBAND [HENRY SAXON]. I KNEW HIS NAME BUT HE PASSED AWAY WHEN MY MOTHER WAS ABOUT 8. OCCASIONALLY HE WOULD COME TO VISIT BUT NOT [OFTEN].” “[MY] MOTHER HAD ALWAYS SAID THAT THE DOCTORS DIDN’T KNOW WHAT SHE DIED FROM. BOTH OF HER PARENTS WERE DIABETICS AND MY GUESS WOULD HAVE TO BE GESTATION DIABETES. I DON’T BELIEVE THERE WAS ANY KIND OF INFECTION FROM WHAT ANYBODY HAD BEEN ABLE TO TELL…[SHE WAS TAKEN] TO THE DOCTOR RIGHT AWAY AND THEY SAID, “ OH, WHO KNOWS?” SHE LEFT AND DIED. HER SISTER NEVER DID KNOW WHAT SHE DIED OF EITHER AND THEY’RE ALSO DIABETIC NOW.” “[CLARA] LIVED IN LETHBRIDGE WHEN SHE PASSED…IT WAS MY GUESS THAT HER AND JOHN WERE MARRIED IN ST. MARY’S ANGLICAN CHURCH UP ON THE NORTH SIDE.” “[I GOT THESE PIECES] THROUGH MY MOTHER [LILY WRIGHT]. SHE HAD THEM PUT AWAY. HER GRANDPARENTS WHO RAISED HER KEPT A FEW THINGS LIKE THIS AND THEY WERE ALWAYS IN THE TRUNK DOWNSTAIRS. WHEN WE HAD TO CLEAN OUT MOM’S PLACE WHEN SHE WENT IN TO A NURSING HOME, MY SISTER AND I WENT “DO YOU WANT THIS, DO YOU WANT THIS? I SAID, THAT WAS CLARA’S, I WANT THAT. THAT’S HOW IT CAME INTO MY OWNERSHIP AND I’VE BEEN CARRYING IT AROUND FOR ABOUT FIFTEEN YEARS.” “[THESE ARE OBJECTS] THAT I FELT SHE WOULD HAVE APPRECIATED THAT THEY MEANT SOMETHING TO ME, TO HANG ON TO AND STILL HAVE SOMETHING OF HERS…[THEY WERE IN] AN OLD STEAMER TRUNK, AN OLD METAL TRUNK AND I THINK PROBABLY AROUND THE TIME [MY MOTHER] AND DAD GOT MARRIED [’46…I’M PRETTY SURE THAT [MOM] HAD GOT [THE TRUNK] AS A SECONDARY HOPE CHEST. IT HAD CLARA’S WEDDING GOWN, HER SHOES…IT MEANT SOMETHING TO [MY MOTHER] SO SHE [HAD] THEM. [THERE WERE] A FEW ORNAMENTS AND GADGETS THAT MOM HAD PICKED UP OVER THE YEARS AND THERE REALLY WASN’T TOO MUCH OF CLARA’S BECAUSE SHE WAS ONLY 22 WHEN SHE PASSED.” “[THE TRUNK] WAS DOWNSTAIRS UNDER THE STAIRS AND IT WAS ONE TRUNK THAT SHE HAD ALWAYS ASKED US NOT TO GO IN. I WAS A PRECOCIOUS CHILD AND BEING TOLD THAT I COULDN’T GO NEAR THE STUFF, I DID ANYWAY. WHEN THEY WERE ON THE FARM, CLARA’S FATHER LIVED WITH MY MOM AND DAD, MYSELF AND MY SISTER UNTIL I WAS FOUR. [MY GREAT-GRANDFATHER] PASSED AWAY WHEN I WAS FOUR. HE LIVED IN THE FARMHOUSE BASEMENT, AND I DIDN’T LIKE THAT HE WAS DOWN THERE BY HIMSELF ALL THE TIME, SO I’D SNEAK DOWN THERE. I HAD GRAMPA JOHN’S PERMISSION TO LOOK THROUGH THAT STUFF BUT MY MOTHER DIDN’T KNOW.” “I IMAGINE IT WAS [MY GREAT GRANDFATHER] THAT TOLD ME [ABOUT CLARA]. EVENTUALLY MOTHER DID TELL ME THAT CLARA’S STUFF WAS IN THAT TRUNK.” “PROBABLY ABOUT ONCE A YEAR, I’D JUST TAKE [THE OBJECTS OUT] AND LOOK AT [THEM]. IT’S BEEN A BIG DEBATE WHETHER I WOULD GO AHEAD AND FIND SOMEBODY THAT COULD RESTORE THE PURSE OR WHETHER I SHOULD JUST PASS IT ALONG. I’M NOT A WEALTHY PERSON, SO I THOUGHT THIS WOULD BE A BETTER HOME FOR IT RATHER THAN INVESTING A BUNCH OF MONEY IN SOMETHING THAT WOULD COME HERE EVENTUALLY ANYWAY.” “[THESE OBJECTS] ARE SOMETHING THAT I KNEW DIDN’T BELONG IN THE GARBAGE. I GUESS IT WAS TO GET SOME KIND OF CONNECTION WITH MY PAST. I NEVER KNEW [CLARA]. MY MOTHER, SHE NEVER KNEW HER MOTHER. IT WAS JUST REASON THAT I HUNG ON TO THEM. NOW THAT I’M DOWNSIZING, HAVING TO LIVE IN A SMALLER PLACE, I HAVE TO LET GO OF A LOT OF STUFF. THIS IS A GOOD HOME FOR [THEM]. THAT HANDBAG WAS JUST SO SPECIAL.” IN AN EMAIL FROM WRIGHT TO MACLEAN, WRIGHT ELABORATES ON THE HISTORY OF CLARA SAXON. CLARA WAS BORN CLARA MELLING IN WIGAN, LACASHIRE, ENGLAND IN DECEMBER 1902 TO ISABELLA (SMITH) MELLING AND JOHN MELLING. IN 1912, THE MELLING FAMILY EMIGRATED TO CANADA. CLARA’S SISTER, LILY MELLING, MARRIED ANDY ALLISON. CLARA MARRIED HENRY SAXON ON NOVEMBER 21, 1923, AND HAD ONE DAUGHTER, LILY (WRIGHT) SAXON BORN SEPTEMBER 29, 1924. CLARA WENT TO A MOVIE WITH HER SISTER ON NOVEMBER 18, 1924 AND FELL ILL. SHE PASSED AWAY OF AN UNDETERMINED CAUSE. LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES FROM NOVEMBER 20, 1924 AND DECEMBER 3, 1924, CONFIRM THAT THE CAUSE OF DEATH WAS NEVER DETERMINED. A POST-MORTEM WAS CONDUCTED AND STOMACH CONTENTS SENT TO EDMONTON, ALBERTA FOR ANALYSIS. IN A LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLE FROM DECEMBER 3, 1924, THE JURY FORMED TO ENQUIRE INTO THE DEATH OF CLARA SAXON RULED CAUSE OF DEATH UNKNOWN AFTER THE POST-MORTEM AND ANALYSIS OF STOMACH CONTENTS FOUND NO ABNORMALITIES, AND THE JURY WAS ADJOURNED. FOR MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION AND COPIES OF LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES, PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE P20180003001-GA.
Catalogue Number
P20180003002
Acquisition Date
2018-03
Collection
Museum
Less detail