Wellesley Girls

The darling Francesca from The Snail and The Cyclops knows how much I'm obsessed with Wellesley College history, since my great great grandmother was a member of the first graduating class in 1875 and I have a copy of her journals documenting her college experience (definitely worth reading the few excerpts I posted back in the spring if you haven't).

She, in her infinite sweetness, alerted me to an online archive of the Wellesley Legenda, the school's yearbook of sorts. So far, they've archived from 1890 to 1922 and it's amazing.

Jean Baxter Watson, from 1914, is one of my favorites. Most of the other girls in her year were wearing these beautiful delicate white lace gowns, she looks like she'd be voted most likely to win a canoe race or grow a prized vegetable garden. My kind of girl!

I'd like to believe that Marion read a lot of Jane Austen. She certainly looks like the elegant scholar.

And Lillian, so shy, is just darling.

Plus these books are a great source for sweet girls names; Mabel, Nellie, Hazel, Bea, Winnie, Minnie, I could just go on and on...

The 1904 Mandolin Club, which Chelsea and I certainly would have belonged! She on the mandolin and I on the guitar, after a few more moths of practice, mind you.

One long garland of ivy and roses from 1908. I don't know what their doing, but I wish I could have been there.

The 1915 golf team. I do love beautiful tomboys.

After looking through all of the yearbooks non stop over the weekend, a small mental brake down ensued. Maybe it was too much computer time or too many beautiful girls in too many beautiful lace dresses. I don't know what it was for sure, but by Sunday morning I was a wreck.
I needed to be transported to spring in 1914, wearing a long, elegant tomboy getup on a canoe, with a straw hat, immediately. So I did what any non rational girl would do and plunked down a shameful, weeks worth of groceries money on a dress that would become my Wellesley time machine.

I am a girl who has no business buying clothes. I have lots of clothes from my years at Marc and I mostly "work" from home now. My normally so sturdy impulse control just vanished! The amazing Judith at the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market rightly pointed out that I could have easily paid a few hundred more for it downtown (ahem Stock), but that could just be my guilt talking.

It is just the most yummy, tightly woven cotton stripe, with shell buttons , linen collar and french seams. I'm going to wear it every freaking day this spring (and summer). And it's in amazing shape, this dress was sewn to take a beating.

It's by a company that was called Dix-Make, a uniform company from 1910. Not being an expert, I think it's from the 20's or 30's as I found a few Dix-Make adverts that look pretty similar.

I promise you, in 6 months, I will regale you with photos of this dress splashed across all of my warm weather spots. Elmwood, a row boat in Central Park, the crooked branch of my favorite weeping beech tree in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Chesapeake Bay, Riverside Drive, my kitchen, outside Ralph's Italian Ice.....

Until then, I don't know about you but I'll be dreaming about being an old timey Wellesley girl.


  1. extraordinary and perfect. You're such a darling-- one of MY darlings!

  2. Oh thank ou for sharing these photos! I adore old photos - they are full of such history

  3. Ah, the dress is wonderful, definitely worth the splurge. Love the color of the stripes and that collar is perfect :)

  4. The photo of the girls with the long garland was probably their graduation.
    I used to be the librarian in a small boarding school est. 1867 and since it began, their graduation ceremony has consisted of all the girls walking down "graduation hill" in white dresses, carrying roses. The entire ceremony is silent and beautiful.

  5. I just found this on etsy, and it reminded me of your post-- http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?ref=vl_other_1&listing_id=20905250

  6. this is a maid's uniform :)
    the henry a dix company (nyc) was the premiere source for maid's uniforms and accessories for most of the last century:)
    mr dix was quite a remarkable philanthropist, as well :)

  7. I think Dix-make was a uniform company. I've found several old mentions of them in nursing school manuals, so i think they supplied all types of service industries.

  8. Henry A. Dix made uniforms for the Red Cross, Army Nurses and Navy Nurses as well as maids and house dresses. He put his label in every garment he made which was unheard of at the time. He had factories in Southern NJ as well as Manhattan on 14h St. I live in a house built on the land that used to be his country estate in Mt. Kisco, NY. I have a lot more info and will email you in case you never see this. You can buy a book that his son wrote about how he ran his business. They sell reproductions at Amazon, but I have an original copy from 1928.