Preston Trail Chapter, NSDAR tour The Texas First Ladies’ Historical Gown Collection at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas

This is a long title but Texas Daughters (or “TXDAR members”) should consider making a field trip to Denton to view this wonderful display of gowns as well as the chance to see other historic rooms in Hubbard Hall which have irreplaceable interior designs.

DAR Tour Texas First Ladies Gown Collection

More importantly, the collection was created by the Texas Society of the DAR during the administration of the late Dr. Marion Day Mullins, State Regent from 1937 to 1940, presenting the collection to TWU on behalf of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1940.

Members of Preston Trail Chapter NSDAR of Pottsboro, as well as some members from the Rebecca Crockett Chapter of Gainesville NSDAR visited on July 20. The tour was graciously conducted by Docent Ann Barton.

Though there are approximately 40 gowns in the complete collection only 20 at a time are on display to the public as they rotated out for necessary repairs and restoration and some selections are sent to Austin for display at the University of Texas.

The gowns are displayed in environmentally protective glass cases with large plaques opposite which provide information on the governors, the First Ladies, and accomplishments of each lady.  In addition, each plaque describes the fabric of the gown with its various embellishments.  Ms. Barton gave additional historic information concerning the displays.

Older styles ranged from high necks, long sleeves, and full skirts through the 1919s and 1920s with short skirts, no sleeves, and hand-sewn decorations of beads, gems, and sequins.  Some of the more recent styles echo the older gowns but are sewn using more modern fabrics.

Gowns on display include those of Texas’ first three First Ladies from 1836 to 1846 during the Republic of Texas.  Others date from U. S. annexation in 1846 to the present, and there are several from First Ladies of the United States who have had very special ties to Texas.

Restoration and proper safeguarding of the gowns are provided for by generous donations from the community as well as from local and national foundations, and is of great importance to TXDAR, State Regent, Judy Ostler. During the 118th Texas State Conference Mrs. Ostler designated a special fund be created for the specific purpose of restoration of several heavily damaged dresses.

“We urge all Texas Daughters to try to visit this unique exhibit of Texas history,” said Mrs. Vicki McComack, Regent of the Preston Trail Chapter.  Special arrangements for the tour were attended by Mrs. Lisa Lettie, Honorary Regent Preston Trail Chapter.

The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in 1890 to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism. Its members are descended from the patriots who won American independence during the Revolutionary War. With more than 177,000 members in approximately 3,000 chapters worldwide, DAR is one of the world’s largest and most active service organizations.  DAR members are committed to volunteer service having served more than 12.5 million hours in communities throughout the world during the past three years.  To learn more about the work of today’s DAR, visit www.DAR.org or connect with DAR on social media at facebook.com/TodaysDARtwitter.com/TodaysDAR and youtube.com/TodaysDAR.