Dress, about 1918

1917-1919

This dress was worn by Virginia Palmer Bradfield Ward. It is of a similar style and by the same designer -Lucile- as her wedding dress, and may have been a part of her trousseau. Virginia Palmer Bradfield Ward 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. In a letter to his daughters on his and Virginia's 50th wedding anniversary, Harold Lee Ward described their wedding in detail. He recalls Virginia and her mother going to New York to find her wedding dress (and likely this dress), and describes her as looking "simply beautiful."


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