Sophie's Dress

August 23, 2011


It was not uncommon for a widower to choose a bride soon after the passing of his recently deceased wife.  More commonly, the sister of the deceased would marry the widower. Such was the case for Sophie Goyer. 

After her sister Laura Goyer Forsdick passed away leaving her husband with many children, Sophie married Harry J. Forsdick on December 5, 1878 (just weeks after Memphis began it’s slow recovery from yellow fever).  Sophie wore this gown of dubonnet silk and velvet, the overskirt trimmed with tassels and fine buttons.  Detailed with a fashionable “fish tail” train and  featuring a bustle.  The deep eggplant purple was rumored to be worn in honor of her sister. 

Please visit Elmwood to see Sophie's gown in person. It will beon display in the Cottage through the end of October.

For more examples of Victorian-age mourning clothing, we recommend the following exhibit:

Mourning Memphis

August 17 - November 6, 2011

Featuring mourning rituals and fashion of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Highlighting the Yellow fever epidemic of 1878.

Woodruff-Fontiane House Museum

680 Adams Avenue, Memphis


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