The business of dressmaking.

Morrissey 1889-1930


Lizzie Morrissey, a dressmaker in Minneapolis for 50 years, made two garments in the Minnesota Historical Society's collections. Born in Janesville, Wisconsin, she and her sisters worked together in both Janesville and Minneapolis. She catered to the Minneapolis elite by advertising in the Dual City Blue Book, a social listing for Twin Cities’ wealthiest families. Her invoice for a dress pattern sold to Mrs. Peavey in September 1903, indicates she was a dress importer as well as a dressmaker.

The business of custom dressmaking was at its peak in the United States in the early 1900s. Morrissey’s story reflects this trend. She employed up to 21 seamstresses or dressmakers, plus a draper and tailor, during this period. Seamstress Elizabeth Esler, also represented in the Minnesota Historical Society's collections, worked for Miss Morrissey from 1896 to 1901.

The Society's collections include a three-piece going-away outfit worn by Antoinette “Nettie” Miller of Waseca, Minnesota, after her marriage to Edward A. Everett on September 2, 1890 (pictured below, right). The second Morrissey garment in the collections is a velvet evening coat with gold metallic trim, dated about 1918. It was worn by Jennie Adelaide Holmes (Mrs. Marshall Harvey Coolidge) of Minneapolis, Minnesota (below, left).


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