Marius Barbeau A glimpse of Canadian Culture (1883-1969)
Introduction Objects Photos & Papers Themes Barbeau's Story Kids & Teachers


Worn in 1884 by the daughter of a wealthy Southern Ontario family, this wedding dress reflects the tastes and attitudes of Victorian society. Photographed on a mannequin, the two-piece dress with bustle and train is made of ivory ribbed silk, with banded silk-plush panels on the skirt and ruched tulle at the neck and wrists. It expresses the Victorian image of a demure and deferential bride wearing an exquisite white or ivory gown, whose colour symbolized purity and which would be worn only once.

The veil, a tradition common to many cultures, was a kind of gift wrapping, preserving her "newness". A bouquet of orange blossoms or white roses also enhanced the theme of purity.

In the Victorian era, as today, a wedding offered an opportunity for the bride and her family not only to share their joy and hospitality, but also to display their wealth and finery. Weddings were simpler in less prosperous Victorian families. The bride chose a wedding dress in whatever colour pleased her, and continued to wear it on special occasions. (Canadian)

Slightly tapered women's leggings made of dark blue broadcloth. Along the flaps are beads and ribbon appliqué. (Cayuga, Iroquois)

Long christening dress made of white. The bodice has a square neckline and short puffed sleeves. The bodice and skirt are decorated in lace and crocheted edging. (Canadian)

A small muff bag thought to have been made by a Québec City furrier around 1900. Attached to top of muff bag is an ermine outer covering and ermine tails. (Canadian)

Sash in chevron patterns radiating from lozenge in centre, in raspberry red, white, pale green, yellow, and royal blue. It has braided and knotted fringes. (French Canadian)

A Helene Curtiss, "Empress" permanent wave machine. It has two electrical switches and a timer on one side, including an outlet marked "Test Curl". It has 30 individual wired curlers. Accessories include 10 foil and cloth wrappers, 32 "Rub-O-Felt" pads, 30 metal rollers, 29 rubber and metal "guards" marked "EMPRESS" and patent no. 2136196, and one allen key.

How it worked: Place a lock of hair in the "Rub-O-Felt" protector and then you pulled the felt close to the scalp (or as far up as the hair was to be curled). The hair was then wet with a waving solution. The end of the lock was wrapped in a foil and cloth wrapper. The lock was wound around a roller and more solution was applied. Then the roller was wound around the lock as far as the hair was to be curled (in any case no farther than the protector pad) and fastened in place in one of the rubber and metal guards. A heated curler was attached to the roller. The usual time heating time was 7 minutes. (Unknown)

Long dress of lilac and silver lame. The hem is lined with dark red satin. It was worn in 1934-1935 to cabinet ministers' gala and an annual ball. (Canadian)

Ivory, silk satin wedding gown with a long train, made around 1926. A circle of wax orange blossoms is attached to the dress at the point of gathering and along the edge of the extending panel. The wedding gown was worn in the spring of 1926 by the donor, Marion McDougall. It was made by Gaby Bernier of Montreal. The bride wore white or beige stockings and satin shoes. Children carried the train. (Canadian)

Hooded overcoat with a detachable hood lined with grey/brown cotton sateen and buttoned in place with five grey mother-of-pearl buttons. Label on the inside reads: "BEAULIEU & GODBOUT QUÉBEC". (Canadian)

Academic hood made of blue silk with ermine trim, given to Marius Barbeau for an honorary doctorate from the University of Oxford. (English)

Academic hood made of red and gold silk with ermine trim, given to Marius Barbeau for an honorary doctorate from Laval University. (French Canadian)

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