— Women's Room —
Click to magnify the images.
In the center of the room is an unusual sewing machine, a Wheeler and Wilson, in a beautiful cabinet. There is even a spinning wheel. But what you notice first are the dresses.
Throughout the room are examples of "in-home" clothing decoration and production. Making clothes by hand was common and some of the examples in the room show the creative flair of the seamstress. The walls are covered with interesting portraits and illustrations.
<— Click to open the manual.
The Wheeler & Wilson sewing machine was from the home of Dr. Samuel W. Close (1821-1889), at the corner of Church and Grove. It's estimated that it might have been purchased around 1880.
Enter the Women's Room, and you enter a place of beauty, creativity and power. The dresses are beautiful. Even the strange item that looks like a torture device was once used in the pursuit of beauty. It is the permanent wave machine used by the Evelyn Washburn School of Scientific Beauty Culture in 1920's Gouverneur and donated by her student, Doris Peabody.
Beauty, Creativity... and Power, too? As one of our leading political citizens, a special alcove is dedicated to Rhoda Fox Graves. Her desk, personal photographs, and some of her attire are displayed.
Rhoda Fox Graves was the first woman elected to the New York State Senate, just five years after women got the right to vote in the United States.
July 2, 1877 — January 25, 1950