Dress, about 1932
Worn by Virginia Palmer Bradfield Ward, this is a striking, beautiful dress used for evening wear. The fine but very plain crepe is exquisitely cut, with the rhinestones making the whole dress seem even more streamlined. It likely was worn with a small belt, now gone. Virginia Palmer Bradfield was born 1897 in Grand Rapids, MI. She was born in to one of Michigan's oldest mining families.Her great grandfather, Charles Henry Palmer, was a pioneer investor and developer of mines and railroads in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Her grandfather, Charles Henry Palmer, Jr. continued to run his father's businesses and expanded them, with mines in Montana, Colorado, and Mexico. Her mother, Elizabeth Virginia Palmer Bradfield, continued to look after her family's estate as well as becoming an accomplished sculptress. Her father was Thomas Parks Bradfield, a graduate of University of Michigan and a lawyer. In 1918, Virginia married Harold Lee Ward of Pontiac, MI. Mr. Ward was the grandson of David Ward, one of Michigan's first lumber barons. After some time in California where Harold was stationed as a flying cadet with the Army Signal Corps Aviation Section, the two returned to live in Pontiac and had three daughters, Virginia Palmer Ward Golding, Elizabeth Palmer Ward DeVine and Ann Ward Spaeth.