Eustis Estate

Celebrate: Bowen Wedding Dress

Lucy Tappan married silk merchant Henry Bowen in 1844. Dressed in the latest style, she carried her bridal bouquet in a silver posy holder. This new accessory, designed to be held or tucked in a skirt waist, was wearable art. Bowen family members continued to wear Lucy’s dress well into the 1950s, letting out the seams and changing the neckline.

This simple yet elegant silk dress and decorative collar shawl dates to c. 1844. The dressmaker is unknown. The dress was worn by Lucy Maria Tappan on the occasion of her marriage to Henry Chandler Bowen on June 6, 1844. Since then it was worn, and altered slightly, by successive generations of Bowen women for their weddings.