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Sarah Elizabeth Van Riper (1857-1942)

Sarah Elizabeth Van Riper, daughter of Uriah J. Van Riper and Anna Banta, was the musician of the family. According to church records, she played the organ during services at Preakness Reformed Church. In 1877, she married Cornelius Post, and the couple lived on a farm in the Preakness section of Wayne. Early in her marriage, Sarah may have worn an outfit like this; a matching bodice and skirt ca. 1880, from the Wayne Museum's collection.

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Though Sarah, living in rural Wayne, may not have kept to the fashion standards set in Paris, wearing an outfit like this would fit in the styles of the early 1880s. The matching bodice and skirt fit closely to the body, creating a straight line down the front. Extra fabric in the back of the skirt accommodated not only a long train, but a bustle; padding that extended out from the small of the back. Heavy decoration and trim, like the extensive ruffles, ribbons, and lace, were also common at this time.

This fashion plate displays the fitted silhouettes, ruffles, and tassels worn in Paris in the spring of 1880. From the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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