A letter from General James Winchester to his daughter Maria in 1814 revealed the young woman’s desire to hear about fashion in other parts of the country, in particular Spanish influenced Mobile.

Fashion in early 1800s America was a direct reflection of politics, culture, and the still new democratic republic of the United States. As wealthy and privileged white women, Susan Winchester and her daughters Maria and Selima, had access to the latest fashions. What did they wear? What did their choices say about their lives as women in the New Republic? Explore the fashions of early 19th century America through the lives of three Tennessee women, Susan Winchester, Maria Winchester Breedlove, and Selima Winchester Robeson.

Tonya Staggs is the executive director of Historic Castalian Springs. Historic Castalian Springs includes three Tennessee state historic sites: Cragfont, Wynnewood, and Hawthorn Hill, all located in Sumner County. Tonya spent nearly 18 years at Historic Travellers Rest where she explored her love of early 19th century fashion. She has conducted historic fashion shows throughout Tennessee and presented at the annual symposium of the Costume Society of America.


December 9, 2020


5:30 pm CT

6:30 pm ET