Today in Smithsonian History: March 11, 1912
Gown worn by Helen Herron Taft, wife of President William Howard Taft, 1909-1913. Photographer unknown, ca. 1960s
March 11, 1912 First Lady Helen Herron Taft (1861-1943) donates her inaugural gown to the Smithsonian Institution. This single gift is the impetus for families, friends and collectors to donate clothing and possessions from preceding presidents’ wives to form the First Ladies’ Collection. Subsequent first ladies have continued the tradition, making “The First Ladies’ Gowns” one of the American History Museum’s most popular exhibitions.
Michelle Obama wore this one-shouldered white silk chiffon gown embellished with organza flowers with Swarovski crystal centers to the 2009 inaugural balls. It was designed by Jason Wu. No details of the dress were released before the balls and Wu did not know that Mrs. Obama had selected his design, which he intended to symbolize hope, until he saw it on television. With the gown, Mrs. Obama wore shoes by Jimmy Choo and diamond earrings, bracelets and a ring designed for her by Loree Rodkin. (Photo courtesy National Museum of American History)
Posted: 11 March 2017