WATERFORD – The first Waterford Historical Society meeting of the season featured a display and fashion show of vintage clothing on May 13.

Program Director Cynthia Hamlin enlisted the help of her grandchildren, Autum Hagar, Alicia Hagar, Jaylie Hagar, RJ Hagar and Hayden Bradley; her niece, Nikki Hamlin, and friend, Rachel Robinson, to present a parade of vintage clothing.

Many of the articles are owned by the Waterford Historical Society and displayed at the North Waterford museum. Some of the items owned by the society are unlabeled so the donor, owner and age are unknown.

Modeled by Autum Hagar, 10 a dress owned by Cynthia Hamlin belonged to her great-aunt, Alice Hamlin Warren, and a bonnet belonging to the society. Autum is the great-great-great-niece of Alice. Alicia Hagar, 7, modeled an unlabeled outfit owned by the society.

Jaylie Hagar, age 1, modeled an outfit owned and presumably worn by Flora Hamlin Abbott. Jaylie is Flora’s great-great-great-niece. On display also was Flora’s wedding gown. Flora, born and raised in Waterford, the daughter of WK Hamlin, married Willard W. Abbott on Dec. 30, 1903, which makes that gown nearly 101 years old.

RJ Bradley-Hagar, 8, modeled an outfit owned by the society. It was made for and worn by Roy Kimball when about 6.

Hayden Hagar-Bradley, 6, wore a dress owned by the society that was made by Carrie Moulton of North Waterford for Thelma Bancroft Merrill in 1908 when she was 4. Agnes Lahti, one of Waterford’s eldest citizens, said Carrie was her aunt.

Nikki Hamlin, age 16, wore a bathing gown and Rachel Robinson, an athletic outfit, loaned by Meg Wheeler. The two outfits were owned by Mary Hovey Gage (Mary Gage Rice). On display were photos of Mary wearing the outfits in 1915 at age 14.

Meg Wheeler also lent a top hat owned and worn by Leander Gage in the 1830s and a velvet hat owned and worn by his wife, Ann Sargent Gage. Leander Gage and Ann Sargent Gage were the builders and original owners of the Gage House on Rice Hill Road in Waterford village.

Displayed was a buffalo coat, owned and worn by Cynthia Hamlin’s great-grandfather, W.K. Hamlin and documented in one of his diaries from the late 1800s as being “loaned to a friend for a Christmas pageant.”

Hamlin encouraged attendees to put the coat on to get a sense of its weight. Also displayed were WK’s hat, cane and work apron next to a picture of him working in the old wool carding mill in South Waterford, wearing the hat and apron.

Also displayed was a cashmere coat belonging to Hamlin’s great-grandmother, Clara Bell Hamlin (wife of W.K.), and a family picture with Clara wearing the coat.

To document fashion through the years, Hamlin displayed photos of six generations of women in her maternal family line: Rose Bernier, her great-grandmother; Blanche Bernier Flanders, grandmother; Patricia Flanders Hamlin, her mother; herself: Dawn Hagar, her daughter; and Hayden Hagar-Bradley, her granddaughter.

Those attending the program brought articles for display and shared their origin and use. Mary Andrews brought a baby dress worn by her when she lived with her family in England and a brilliantly colored shawl.

Marge Kimball displayed a house dress, coat and some practical shoes owned and worn by her grandmother. Agnes Lahti brought a beaded wool cape owned by her aunt that she documented as being over 100 years old.

Nancy Marcotte, a teacher at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, brought a poster display on historical clothing and presented information on the evolution of fashion.

Many other items were displayed, including button shoes, spats, gowns, under clothing, nightgowns and dress coats. Hamlin also displayed a fashion magazine dated 1890 that included a section on “boa scarves” that are fashionable again today.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.