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Shirley Bird Dress


Worn by Shirley Hasler
Gift of Shirley and Howard Bird

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Audio Guide

Shirley Hasler Bird (1918 – 2017) lived with her husband, Howard, in New Canaan for over 40 years. The two were married in 1944 at the Church of the Transfiguration in New York City. The couple moved to New Canaan in 1956. Shirley served on the Board of the New Canaan Historical Society for many years, and the campus has a flower garden dedicated to her. The dress was worn again by her daughter, Suzy, in her marriage to Gary Massey, on September 28, 1985.

In the 1940s, during WWII, the fashion industry was heavily impacted by rationing, although wedding dresses, maternity clothes, and religious vêtements were exempt. Shirley’s dress is modest, with a high sweetheart neckline trimmed with vintage lace, and long sleeves reaching down to the wrists. The skirt extends to the floor and cascades into a luscious silky train extending several feet behind the dress. The back of the dress is fastened with a row of tiny satin-covered buttons, fitting the dress snugly against the bride. The ivory satin gown features lace trim from Shirley’s mother’s wedding dress.

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