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Mary Todd Lincoln's dress was more than simply an article of clothing. Although the dress itself was hand-sewn, the cloth it was made from was woven in a mill; the First Lady also had a role to play as a hostess and representative, and the public had certain expectations concerning her appearance. Thus, the dress comes to us not simply as an article of clothing, but as a symbol. Click on the objects to explore how the dress appears at the intersection of complicated themes of industrialization, class and racial dynamics, and gendered expectations.

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