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Threads of Black Emancipation in an Eighteenth-Century Dress

McCord Stewart Discoveries

March 22, 2024

Presentation by Cynthia Cooper, Head, Collections and Research; Curator, Dress, Fashion and Textiles.

A photograph of a young woman wearing her ancestor’s dress for a 1927 costume ball led to the unlikely discovery of the garment in a Laurentians cottage in 2022. Research has traced the garment from its origins in colonial Virginia in the 1760s, through the upheaval of the American Revolution, to Quebec City in 1789, embedding it in the first wave of Black emancipation.

  • <em>Eileen Peters in 18<sup>th</sup>-century dress</em>, 1928, II-282443, McCord Stewart Museum
  • Dress, 1760-1780, M2022.18.1.1-2, McCord Stewart Museum
  • Detail, dress, 1760-1780, M2022.18.1.1-2, McCord Stewart Museum

McCord Stewart Discoveries

In the McCord Stewart Discoveries, the Museum’s experts present the research projects they’ve been working on and share their recent discoveries related to the Museum’s collections and archives. The event is geared towards an academic audience as well as anyone interested in history and archives, museum studies, or material culture.

  • The talks will take place in French or English
  • Series of talks presented on Friday, March 22, 2024