Vintage Brides

“Mary Dayton Richards; A bride from the end of the 19th century”

13 November, 2014

Mary Dayton Richards (1842-1921) and Milton Brayton Graff (1840-1877) were married in 1869 in Manhattan. By that time, the wedding gowns were long and with a elliptical skirt. However the trend for brides was about to change.

She – who was very thin – decided to wear a beautiful dress in pure white made in a kind of shiffon. Nowadays it’s not common anymore for brides to wear such a white dress but other tonalities of white like cream or ivory.

The sort of shiffon she used was origin from India and it was very similar to muslin but with a thinner weave and a rigid consistency.


Mary’s dress was a very common model back in the 19th century: it was modest with a demure style like the fashion rules dictated in the time. It had a cute bodice with round neckline and central set of buttons, with a little arpon made of flounces in the same fabric that the rest of the dress. Of course, since the fabric was so transparent, it had a cotton lining to show consistency.

The sleeves were semi transparent as they didn’t get the cotton lining below from the elbow down.

The superb skirt was made by a couple of overskirts (one shorter than the other) resting over a petticoat, with an undulating ending in the same fabric. The drawing was actually a bit modern for the time.


Mary and Milton were married in Manhattan, where she was born, although the couple got back to the groom’s home – Cincinnati – right after the ceremony. He was working there as a psychologist.

They lived together with Milton’s parents, Jacob and May Ann Graff in the west of the city. Between 1850 and 1890 the wealthy businessmens built there impressive Italian-style houses and the area started being called “The Walk of the Millionaires”.

Sadly, the marriage was broken in just a few years due to Milton’s death in 1875. After 5 years, Mary built her own house in Glendale (Ohio), in a community only 15 miles away from Cincinnati.

Glendale was the summer house for rich people from Cincinnati, who wanted to scape from the noise and contamination of a big city. Probably was that and the quite surroundings what grabbed Mary’s attention. She lived there with her two children until she died in 1921.

129, Dayton Street


Wedded Perfection. Cynthia Amnéus.


Wedded Perfection. Cynthia Amnéus.

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