With humor, flair, and respect, the Oregon Jewish Museum has turned Gussie Reinhardt—or at least her dress—into an advocate for woman suffrage. I’d like to think that Gussie would have been delighted.
I invite you to meet the dress in person at a modest exhibit at the Oregon Jewish Museum in Portland from January 19, 2012 through May 6, 2012. It’s part of the centennial celebration of the enlightened day—November 5, 1912—when Oregon women got the right to vote, with the help of some (likely not most) of Oregon’s Jewish men. The opening reception is January 18 from 5:30 to 7:30, and I’ll be there along with Blue Thread.
The woman suffrage exhibit needed something to “gussy it up” (I couldn’t resist this), and Gussie’s dress was perfect. It lives in the OJM archives and is reminiscent of styles worn during the early 20th century.
Museum curator Anne LeVant Prahl and I donned white gloves and gently guided Gussie’s dress onto a display form. We padded the sleeves with tissue paper, enhanced the bust with a well padded bra, adorned all with an old faux-pearl necklace, and added a VOTES FOR WOMEN sash.
Who’s Gussie Reinhardt? I’ll tell you more later.