The business of dressmaking.

Mrs. Worley 1866-1894


Brocaded burgundy velvet two-piece evening gown.

On August 2, 1902, the West Saint Paul Times ran the following announcement. "Mrs. Mary G. Worley, of Clinton, Connecticut, died at her home on Friday of last week. Mrs. Worley is well known in St. Paul where she resided for many years. In the [eighteen] sixties she came to St. Paul and opened up a fashionable dressmaking establishment which she conducted in connection with Mannheimer's Dry Goods store for a great many years and in the early days it was the only one of its kind. Failing health forced her to give up the business in 1894 when she went east to make her home. During a part of Mrs. Worley’s residence in St. Paul they resided on Annapolis Street in West St. Paul, where the family had a fine residence."

Mary Osborn Worley was born in Maryland about 1827. She and her husband, Adam, lived in Baltimore where he ran A.Worley and Co. stove works. By 1860 they moved their family to St. Peter, Minnesota; by 1864 they were living in St. Paul. In 1866 Mrs. Worley began advertising as a dressmaker, working at 189 3rd Street. From that year until 1883 she worked at various addresses as a dressmaker or a dress and cloak maker. From 1883 to 1894 Mrs. Worley managed the Dressmaking Department at Mannheimer Brothers department store, where she grew her reputation as St. Paul's "expensive and fashionable dressmaker."

During this period, the most prominent dressmakers began stitching stamped or woven name labels into petershams (ribbons attached to bodices that acted as supporting belts). These labels are the only definitive means of identifying dressmakers' work.

View in Mannheimer Brother's Great Dry Goods Establishment, St. Paul.

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