Thursday, February 9, 2012

Spotty, checked, and striped! :-)

From the seller:

I don’t normally sell antique clothing but I’m going on a historical trip in April and so I’ve been looking around for some pieces for my trip. With that said I am not an expert in this field so please ask me questions before the auction ends and this is a buy as is auction.
     The best thing about this Edwardian blouse is that it actually has provenance; the name of the seamstress is on the inside of the blouse. It says “M. A. Tansley Springfield Mass.” I was so happy to see this and believe it or not I even found her in the 1890-91 Springfield Massachusetts business directory. She is listed as “Mary A. Tansley dressmaker” and her location is 29 Elliot Street. And here’s the interesting part. I found another “Mary Ann Tansley” on the 1881 census only this one is for England. It shows a Mary Ann Tansley, Dressmaker in the Devon County Lunatic Asylum. She is 54 at the time the census was taken. I have no idea if this is the same woman or not because she could have traveled to the states at one point between 1881-1890. Or it might be her mother or they might not even be related but it’s worth the research. Finally, there’s the 1930 census where I found a Mary A. Tansley in the Bay Co. Infirmary (poor house) which I believe is located in Michigan. It says this Mary is 62 years old and a widow. I’m so curious if any of these women are related.
     As to this blouse, I have another one up for action that also has Miss Tansley’s name inside. Both of the blouses are in bad condition and really need some archival repair but there are so many incredible qualities about them; mainly the intricate workmanship. This particular one has some incredible black velvet and lace tabs that I just fell in love with and original buttons.  However part of the collar is missing at the top and one of the sleeves is loose but accounted for. The silk inside is torn up and it really needs some cleaning. I tried to take as many photos as I could to give you an idea of the condition. I believe it is the kind of blouse that would be a good study piece. Again, please keep in mind the poor condition.
     Laying flat the waist measures 11”, pit to pit measures 15”, sleeve length is 23” and from the top of the collar to the bottom of the blouse is 18”. Her name is rather light on this one but the other one I have up for sale, you can see her name very well.

MY BLOG: I’ve decided, finally, to start a blog site using the diaries in my personal collection. Over the years I’ve got so many amazing people emailing me asking me to share from my own personal collection of antique diaries. I’ve been trying to develop a web site but that is taking time so I thought I’d do this first and also facebook. I’m going to try and post a new entry from a diary (hopefully a few different diaries at a time) every other day but Sunday. Bear with me though as my eBay listings keep me pretty busy. There is also a page on the blog where I’ve written about why I collect. You can search for the blog either by putting into one of the search engines (such as Google) the name; sallysdiaries (no apostrophe and all one word) or the actually site is  I’ve also started a facebook page and that is listed under Sally Ivey Mac Namara.
     The first diary I’ve been blogging about is from 1912 and is written by a woman who spends a romantic summer in England with her lover Henri. She also takes photos along the way. I am also in the process of putting up on my blog site a very emotional group of diaries from a man written in 1927, 1930 and 1931, near the beginning of the great depression. He has just lost the love of his life, his wife, to death and his entries are as deep and heartfelt as I’ve ever read. I had to put this set in a new blog site which can be found at
     I actually just finished blogging about the 1912 diary and have just started another one on my first blog site that was written by none other then EDITH VANDERBILT SHEPARD FABBRI. It’s her travel diary from the East to West Coast in 1887.
     Thanks to all of you who have helped me through the years with such positive words of encouragement.

From Me:

I figured I'd include the entire description on this one since some of you may also be interested in her blog. It sounds like a fascinating project!

This blouse is from the early Edwardian era. My guess is within a couple of years of 1903. The distinguishing characteristics are the slightly full sleeve towards the cuff, the pigeon front on the bodice, and the raised neckline.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I keep a clothing archive at Mount Holyoke College in MA and we have several incredible M. A. Tansley items. So wonderful to see her story getting out, her pieces are delightful , so beautiful and with amazing construction.