1959 Cocktail Dress

Date: 1959 - Material: Silk, velvet - Accession: 2001.191.1.640

According to a sewn-in label, this dress was made to order at Bergdorf Goodman on the Plaza, New York in 1959 for “Mrs. A. R. Staley.” In 1934, Lucy Wheeler married Andrew Rollin Staley, the son of the owner of the A.E. Staley Manufacturing Company, which produces corn products in Decatur, Illinois. Her husband, Rollin Staley attended the University of Illinois, together they were donors.

The Staleys had no children, indicating this dress was likely worn by Mrs. Staley who was 51 years old in 1959. At the time, the Staleys had retired to their winter home in Naples, Florida.

Donated to the University of Illinois Bevier Historic Costume Collection. Property transfer to the Illinois State Museum, 2001.