Meet Mary Morris Husband

Eleanor Rose

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central NC
Mary.jpg

Mary Morris Husband - 1865
I was drawn to this carte de visite because the clothing didn’t seem typical for the mid-1860s. The apron has really big pockets and the bodice looks like a wrapper of some kind. On closer inspection the bodice and the apron are attached to each other and made from the same fabric.

Well, meet Mary Morris Husband. Mary served as a nurse from 1862 until well after the war ended in 1865. She was the granddaughter of founding father Robert Morris. She served as nurse and hospital matron all over the Eastern Theater: Harrison's Landing, Baltimore, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Brandy Station, White House Landing, Port Royal, City Point. Frank Moore, in his book "Women of the War" writes, "She modified her dress so as to move without inconvenience up the narrow alleys that divided the rows of cots, and made herself a great apron, with a row of deep pockets, which were several times each day filled as she made her round. Almost every patient received some little thing or other from those deep and roomy receptacles." You can see this apron in the photo, along with what I think are some of the little trinkets some of her patients made her (these are mentioned in accounts of her work) strung on a cord at her waist. The diamond shaped badge on her lapel may be a 3rd Corps badge, in the winter of 1863-64 she was matron of the hospital for the 3rd Division of the 3rd Corps, Army of the Potomac.

After the war she lived in DC where one of her sons, a Union veteran, worked as a clerk for the Post Office. She joined the Daughters of the American Revolution (of course) and on at least one occasion took someone to task in the newspaper for claiming they were descended from Robert Morris claiming no one in the family was aware of this person. When she died in 1894 newspapers across the country carried her obituary. She is buried in Philadelphia.

@JPK Huson 1863 has done a wonderful thread on Mary. I contribute this to discuss the carte de viste and as my way of paying homage to a wonderful woman.
 

Eleanor Rose

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I've never seen anything like that before! Have you found any other examples of a similar garment?

I haven't. I did a double take when I ran across it this morning so I had to share it here. Maybe @JPK Huson 1863 or @Mrs. V will have some more information they can share. I tracked down the info I shared from Frank Moore's book, "Women of the War."
 

Mrs. V

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May 5, 2017
What a pretty dress. Most of the time you see wrap dresses, with the fronts crossing. It appears to be a “morning” dress..much less bulky than what you would wear out of the house, or in the afternoon to receive visitors. I love how the apron is trimmed, and made from the same cloth as the dress. Clearly a woman who could achieve, form, function and beauty all at the same time!
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Central Pennsylvania
I'd never come across that one before either, she looks awfully tired! Who wouldn't be? Nice find, @Eleanor Rose !

Rats, I know I've come across that somewhere- drat it. The thing is, if you look at other images of Mary this style seems to be one she wore nearly all the time. Hoops/crinoline weren't adopted by everyone- I don't know enough about Mary Morris Husband to say whether or not she was one of them but some of the women in academia and other areas didn't really follow ' fashion ' you know?

Her dress looks subdued without going the whole way towards say, Dr. Harriet Austin's complete revolt. You just know someone came up with a name for it!
 

John Hartwell

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Central Massachusetts
Ron Coddington has just today added another cdv of Mary Husband to his Flickr photostream. Reproduced here by pemission, it is clearly the photograph upon which the engraving in post #10, above, was based:
husband.jpg
Her expression here is rendered, perhaps, a little softer than in the engraving -- less 'tired,' and more, indeed, 'motherly.'

Ron has gathered extensive notes on Mary Husband's service, which add to the superb sketch offered by @JPK Huson 1863:
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/mrs-mary-morris-husband.91479/#post-742802
 

Eleanor Rose

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central NC
Ron Coddington has just today added another cdv of Mary Husband to his Flickr photostream. Reproduced here by pemission, it is clearly the photograph upon which the engraving in post #10, above, was based:
Her expression here is rendered, perhaps, a little softer than in the engraving -- less 'tired,' and more, indeed, 'motherly.'

Ron has gathered extensive notes on Mary Husband's service, which add to the superb sketch offered by @JPK Huson 1863:
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/mrs-mary-morris-husband.91479/#post-742802

Thank you so much for adding this! I look forward to reading Ron's notes. I think Mary must have been a remarkably kind woman to provide the care she offered throughout the war.
 

John Hartwell

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Central Massachusetts
Note she wears the same diamond-shaped 3rd Corps badge she has on her left breast in the photo in post #1, but on her hat in post #13:
husband - Edited.jpg
Usually this badge is represented as a solid diamond; here it is open. Since she was matron on the hospital of the 3rd Corps of the 3rd Division, it would have been a blue diamond on a white background (1st Div. red on white; 2nd Div. white on blue.)
 
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Eleanor Rose

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central NC
Note she wears the same diamond-shaped 3rd Corps badge she has on her left breast in the photo in post #1, but on her hat in post #13:
View attachment 356659 Usually this badge is represented as a solid diamond; here it is open. Since she was matron on the hospital of the 3rdCorps 3rd Division, it would have been a blue diamond on a white background (1st Div. red on white; 2nd Div. white on blue.)

You have a great eye for detail! Wow!
 
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