York, PA - The Edwardian era lasted less than a generation.
England's Queen Victoria died in 1901, signaling the end of the nearly six decade-long Victorian Era. Even though her son King Edward VII, for which the Edwardian period is named, died in 1910, the era extended through the beginning of World War I in 1914.
But its style remains iconic. No detail was spared as modernity melded with elegance.
Clothing was often hand-embroidered, even if it was ordered from a catalog. Homes were built in classical styles and outfitted with electric lights and telephones. Passengers paid a premium to travel on White Star Line ships such as the Titanic, which boasted luxurious amenities, including mahogany carvings, brocade curtains and fine cutlery.
These three facets of life in the early 1900s come together in the "Titanic Fashions: High Style in the 1910s" exhibit, which opened this weekend in Hanover. It's the first joint offering from the Hanover Area Historical Society and The Shippensburg Fashion Archives and Museum.
An exhibit that features period clothing displayed in a period home is rare, said Mikele Stillman, of the historical society's programming committee. Fashions from the archives adorn 39 mannequins, which are arranged among the rooms of the Warehime-Myers mansion.
Wedding attire is displayed in the formal dining room of the Warehime-Myers Mansion in Hanover. (DAILY RECORD / SUNDAY NEWS -- PAUL KUEHNEL)
In the mansion, visitors are transported back 100 years, Stillman said.
"It's like walking into another time," she added.
It was a time when the shoe business was booming in Hanover. Clinton N. Myers, a partner and founder of the Hanover Shoe Factory, used his wealth to build a mansion. It was donated to the Historical Society about five years ago in pristine condition
Mourning attire is shown in a second-floor room of the Warehime-Myers Mansion in Hanover. (DAILY RECORD / SUNDAY NEWS -- PAUL KUEHNEL)
Period fashion will also be seen in a Titanic miniseries, which will air on ABC in April.
Most of the clothing on display at the mansion in Hanover was worn by southcentral Pennsylvanians or their family members.
"I think it brings the house to life," said archives director Karin Bohleke, who curated the exhibit.
What's in the photos
Curator with driving outfits: Karin J. Bohleke, director of the Fashion Archives and Museum at Shippensburg University, curated the 'Titanic Fashions: High Style in the 1910s' exhibit, which is on display through April 29 at Hanover's Warehime-Myers Mansion. In this photo, Bohleke unbuttons a female duster jacket to show the dress underneath. The long-lean silhouette was in style before World War I, she said. Gone were the caged crinolines, which supported full skirts. The dress also has a pigeon-breast, in which the fabric pooches out above the waist, which was fashionable at the time. Both mannequins shown here stand in the entry of the mansion. They are styled to go 'motoring,' the term for taking a drive in an automobile in the early 1900s. Production line manufacturing of automobiles was new. Ford Motor Co. was organized in 1903. Roads at the time weren't paved, so people wore duster jackets and goggles to protect their clothing and faces. Celluloid, a precursor to plastic, was used to make goggles, collar stays and other parts of clothing during the early 1900s.
This mannequin, which stands by the entrance to the kitchen of the Warehime-Myers Mansion in Hanover, wears a printed cotton work dress and white apron. (DAILY RECORD / SUNDAY NEWS -- PAUL KUEHNEL)
Blue dress: This blue formal dress was worn by Ethel Myers, the wife of Clinton N. Myers, who built the Myers Mansion in Hanover. Mrs. Myers worked as a seamstress at one point, Bohleke said. The dress, which features voided velvet detailing, is from 1912, the same year the Myerses moved into the home. The fashions on display for the 'Titanic Fashions: High Style in the 1910s' are from the same era as the mansion, which is celebrating its centennial this year. Asymmetrical lines and drapery were fashionable. All the latest styles came from Paris, of course, Bohleke said. Custom dressmakers and factory-produced styles existed at the time. Most mail-order clothes were made-to-measure and clothing was often altered in some way to make it custom fit. Many of the shapes and styles were influenced by the underwear at the time, Bohleke said. Most women wore chemises and knickers under corsets. Over that, they wore slips or petticoat covers. Silk, cotton and wool were popular fabrics. Most people assume that clothing must have been hot and constricting during the Edwardian era, but that's not necessarily true, Bohleke said. The exhibit features many light summer gowns that breathed, since they were made of natural fibers.
Bride and groom attire: Wedding attire is displayed in the formal dining room of the Warehime-Myers Mansion in Hanover. The bride and groom who wore these clothes were not marred to each other, said Bohleke, who curated an exhibit on clothing from the 1910s. The three-piece black day suit, shown to the left, was made by Abraham Lincoln Shearer, who was born in 1865. He made the wedding attire for a son, which is shown here, and his father. Not all grooms wore tuxedos. Since they were first introduced in the late 1880s, they were still fairly rare in the early 1900s. A tuxedo is on display in another room of the mansion. Men wore bowler or derby hats, and they wore top hats for formal occasions. The woman who wore the bridal attire shown here attended Shippensburg University from 1910 to 1914. She then married a bank teller, who later became the bank president, Bohleke said. This lace and silk wedding dress was white, but another wedding dress, in royal blue, is also displayed in the mansion. Queen Victoria started a trend when she was married in white in 1840. But white didn't become the standard until the 1950s, Bohleke said. During the Edwardian era, brides usually wore a good dress that they could use afterward. Modern gloves were added to the mannequin, but Bohleke said most gloves from the period were made of silk.
Children's clothing from the Edwardian era is shown here. (DAILY RECORD / SUNDAY NEWS -- PAUL KUEHNEL)
Children's clothing: Children's clothing from the Edwardian era is shown here. It's displayed in a second-floor room of the Warehime-Myers Mansion in Hanover with toys from the era. The plaid dress to the right was worn by a little boy and the white dress was worn by a little girl. Girls wore huge bows in their hair. Their dresses were lightly lined and had supports to promote good posture. Girls didn't start to wear corsets until puberty, said Karin Bohleke, who curated the mansions 'Titanic Fashions: High Style in the 1910s' exhibit. Like adults, children had everyday clothes and nice clothes. When out in public, people dressed up, Bohleke said. Even the poor had their Sunday best. People at the time spent more money on clothes, because items were higher quality and would last longer.
Accessories, such as these boots, were an important part of a 1900s ensemble. (DAILY RECORD / SUNDAY NEWS -- PAUL KUEHNEL)
A hatbox is shown here with a White Star Line sticker. The White Star line decided to build the Titanic in 1908. (DAILY RECORD / SUNDAY NEWS -- PAUL KUEHNEL)
If you go
What: "Titanic Fashions: High Style in the 1910s" exhibit
When: 10 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Wednesdays; noon to 3:15 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays through April 29. A private preview is being held today.
Where: The Warehime-Myers Mansion, 305 Baltimore St., Hanover
Cost: General admission is $8 per person and $15 for families
For details: Groups are welcome, but reservations are suggested. Group reservations and guided tours can be scheduled by calling 717-637-6413. Full-color catalogs, which contain details about the exhibit's pieces and notes on the Edwardian era, are available for purchase. For details about the exhibit, visit www.hahs.us/fashion.html.
Hanover Shoe Factory partners H.C. Sheppard and Clinton N. Myers each built almost identical three-story neo-classicalmansions a few blocks apart in Hanover. Both mansions have been preserved.
The Warehime-Myers Mansion, built 1911-12 at 305 Baltimore St., is much the same as it was during Edwardian Times. The Myers family sold it to William Warehime in 1997, and he willed it to the Hanover Area Historical Society. For details, visit www.hahs.us/mansion.html.
The Sheppard Mansion, 117 Frederick St., is now an inn and restaurant. It was built in 1913 and restored in 1999.
For details, visit sheppardmansion.com.
Hanover Area Historical Society: www.hahs.us
The Shippensburg University Fashion Archives and Museum: www.ship.edu/fashion_archives
Titanic memorial cruise: titanicmemorialcruise.co.uk
People knew the Titanic by its name and the color of its smokestacks.
White Star Line vessels had similar names -- Adriatic, Britannic, Celtic, Oceanic -- and buff and black smokestacks.
Leaders of White Star Line, one of the leading British shipping companies, dreamed up a new class of ships in 1907. White Star wanted to compete with Cunard line, whose ships were the fastest and largest at the time. But instead of entering the speed race across the Atlantic, White Star wanted its fleet to feature the most luxurious amenities. Three new ships were planned: Olympic, Titanic and Gigantic.
Olympic and Titanic were sister ships, but Olympic was built first. Titanic's keel was laid March 31, 1909. Thousands labored to complete what at the time was the largest man made moveable object in about two years. Much was made of her elaborate design and proportions. There were first-class suites, outfitted with the finest French furniture and bedding. There was a swimming pool, gymnasium and Turkish bath.
Aesthetics were so important to designers that a fourth smokestack, which would function as little more than a ventilator, was added. Lifeboats were seen by the company as an obstruction to passenger deck space and a reminder that sea travel could still be dangerous at the time. Titanic's lifeboats could only accommodate half of its passengers, but the number exceeded British Board of Trade requirements.
The marketing campaign for the ship matched its name. Posters, brochures and press coverage ensured that travelers knew all about the Titanic. The guest list for the maiden voyage, which contained names of some of the richest people in the world, was published in the papers.
But the new class of ships also came in the midst of a great immigrant migration to America, and White Star also wanted to attract third-class passengers. Titanic was actually registered as an immigrant trip. It's third-class living conditions rivaled those of second class on other lines. For many, it was a great boost for a few days -- three fresh meals a day, laundered sheets and hot and cold water in a shared bathroom.
Titanic's launch May 31, 1911 included fanfare. Thousands turned out to see the giant ship set sail. Its maiden voyage began April 10, 1912. Titanic left Southampton, made two stops in France and then set off for New York City.
But she never arrived. News traveled slower at the time, so there was much speculation in the press about what had happened to Titanic.
Details came from first-hand accounts, and investigations by the British Board of Trade and the U.S. Senate.
Titanic struck an iceberg late April 14, 1912, and sank during the early morning hours of April 15.
In the chaos and confusion, some lifeboats were launched with only a dozen people -- mostly first-class passengers. Thousands -- mostly third-class passengers -- perished. Fallout prompted stricter safety regulations and led to the formation of an International Ice Patrol in 1914.
Despite the tragedy, the White Star Line continued operating as one of the top travel lines. Many of its ships were converted for World War I service. White Star remained profitable until the 1930s. It went through sales and was phased out by the middle of the decade.
Theories about the Titanic resurfaced in 1985, when Dr. Robert Ballard discovered the ship on the ocean floor.
The tragedy will mark 100 years next month. Many events across the world are planned to commemorate the occasion. Sources: www.titanic-whitestarships.com, Hanover historian and author Ken Weiler
Titanic by the numbers
Length: 882.6 feet
Width: 92 feet
Maximum speed: 24 knots
Cruising speed: 21 knots
Weight: 45,000 tons
Weight, fully loaded: 66,000 tons
Tons of coal burned/day: 600
Cost: About 1.5 million British pounds in 1912 ($7.5 million in 1912)
Maximum passenger capacity: About 3,300
Number of people on board the maiden voyage: About 2,220
Number of lifeboats: 20
Number of people those could hold when fully loaded: About 1,180
Deaths: More than 1,400
Survivors: About 705
Sources: titanic-whitestarships.com, Hanover historian/author Ken Weiler
See 'Titanic' again on the big screen
Director James Cameron released his epic movie about the fated White Star Line ship "Titanic" in December 1997. It went on to win 11 Academy Awards and grossed almost $2 billion worldwide, bested only by Cameron's "Avatar" in 2009.
The movie sails back into theaters April 4. It will be released in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D formats. The movie is rated PG-13 and runs 194 minutes. Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane and Kathy Bates star.
For details, visit www.titanicmovie.com.