1903/1937 Wedding Dress


Off-white wedding gown of satin, lace and organza or chiffon having a large lace bertha collar over short puff chiffon sleeves trimmed with a pleated ruffle, and a satin bodice and cummerbund with floral embroidery. It closes in back with hooks/eyes. The mostly satin skirt has a front panel of two layers of chiffon ending in a deep ruffle with horizontal tucks and pleated chiffon bands that extend around the skirt hem into the train. Two lace side panels, which match the collar, top the skirt. Wide falling collar made of lace, pieced to create symmetry. Cummerbund is loosely pleated and is embroidered in a floral motif with a satin stitch at the center front and center back with matching cording in floral patterns. There is also embroidery on the center front of the bodice just above the cummerbund as well as along the back closure and back neckline. The dress is closed at the center back with covered buttons and fabric loops on the satin, and with hooks and eyes along the collar and the skirt opening.

The bodice has a sheer organza yoke under the collar from the neckline to the top of the bust where the satin bodice begins. There is a small waistband in the back of the dress of satin, into which the skirt is pleated two inches either side of center back. The back of the skirt lengthens into a train that extends twenty-eight inches. The bottom thirteen inches of the skirt is decorated with the organza that is alternately pleated ruffles and pairs of horizontal tucks; stitching is done in a darker gold colored thread. The front satin skirt wraps around to the front and is sewn to a center panel of the satin organza. The thirteen inches of decorative ruffles and tucks is continued across the front and the tucks are extended up about seven inches into the center panel. In the center front of the satin organza panel is another embroidery motif. Over and on either side of the front panel are side panels of the handmade lace.




1903 & 1937


Beatrice Celia Borg wore this dress when she married Frederick Michael Stein in New York, New York on November 26, 1903. Her daughter, Cecelia Borg Stein, would alter it for her marriage to William Arthur Cullman on July 1, 1937.
Beatrice Celia Borg was born in 1881, one of three children of Cecilia Lichtenstadter and Simon Borg, who was born in Germany and migrated to Memphis, TN to work as a cotton broker. He founded the bank that would later become the Manhattan Bank & Trust, and moved to Manhattan by 1869. Beatrice’s mother, Cecilia, was a prominent philanthropist and one of the founders of Barnard College. Simon and Cecilia had seven children, Beatrice being the eldest daughter. Unfortunately, both of Beatrice’s parents died shortly following her marriage.
Frederick Stein was the son of Pauline Bernard and Solomon Stein. He was the only son of four children born to the couple. Solomon immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1841. His father co-owned a clothing manufacturer, Stein & Brother, which funded the family fortune. Eventually these Steins moved to New York City sometime after 1872. Frederick attended Harvard University from 1891-1893 before leaving to join his father’s business. Prior to his marriage, Fred travelled extensively with his cousin, Leo Stein, older brother of Gertrude Stein, a pioneer in modernist writing and well-known collector of modern art.
Beatrice and Fred’s wedding was a lavish affair that was documented in the local newspapers. The ceremony was held at Beatrice’s parent’s home on Fifth Avenue in New York. The bride had 10 attendants and 250 guests at the reception. The home was transformed with palm trees, ferns, lilies and roses to create a conservatory effect.
Fred and Beatrice had three children, two sons and one daughter, Celia, the youngest.

Cecelia Borg Stein was born April 17, 1914 and married William Arthur Cullman on July 1, 1937. W. Arthur Cullman was born December 27, 1914 to Francis Wolf and Joseph Frederick Cullman Jr., one of five children. The family resided in New York City.
This wedding also took place in Manhattan, and Cecelia did her best to duplicate her mother’s elaborate wedding even in the midst of the Great Depression. She had the same number of attendants and a bridal party photo with a backdrop of palm trees.


1900-1909 and 1930-1939


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cullman 1930s wedding party.JPG



“1903/1937 Wedding Dress,” Fashion2Fiber, accessed June 24, 2024,