Texas First Ladies Historic Gown Collection

About the Collection

Lubbock's white satin dress with scattered red flowers on the skirt and a red velvet belt.
Photo is courtesy of Melanie Sanford, Textile Preservation Services of Texas.

The Collection is much more than a chronology of fashion. Progressing from the 1800s through industrialization of the 1900s, the First Ladies of Texas have become icons of grace and compassion. Each woman leaves her own legacy, but all share common threads that seamlessly stitch together Texas’ First Ladies’ assorted patchwork of experience.

We hope that visitors will also see the Collection as a springboard into the living history of Texas Women. Texas Woman’s University welcomes you to enjoy this fascinating collection of gowns and encourages you to see beyond the heirloom garments and into the chambers of Texas’ past.

Currently, there are 11 gowns on display including period piece furniture that also make up the First Ladies Historic Gown Collection. This collection is owned by the University, however, periodically items are loaned to enhance the display and user-experience. The display changes throughout the year so visitors can enjoy different gowns in the Collection with each visit.

Each dress has been loaned or donated by various sources to the University. Restoration, storage and upkeep of the collection is made by generous donations from the community including the Texas Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Denton Benefit League.

Texas Bucket List features the Gown Collection

Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott’s Inaugural Gown on display at TWU

The scarlet red gown worn by Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott during her husband Gov. Greg Abbott’s Inauguration is the latest addition to the Texas First Ladies Historic Costume Collection at Texas Woman’s University.

Page last updated 3:38 PM, February 6, 2024