A Victorian Wardrobe Malfunction

Edward Everett, 1794-1865

Edward Everett, 1794-1865

After winning the presidency in 1840, William Henry Harrison appointed Edward Everett as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of St. James–diplomat-speak for ambassador to Britain.  Everett, a former professor, Congressman and governor of Massachusetts, was also a legendary orator.  On November 19, 1863, he would uncork the two-hour-long speech that preceded Abraham Lincoln’s remarks at the dedication of the national cemetery at Gettysburg.

Everett enjoyed some diplomatic success in Britain, but in 1845 was recalled by the new president, James K. Polk.  Late in August, rushing to depart from London for home via Liverpool, he attended to one minor matter.  Everett had hired the firm of Stultz and Company, tailors to no less a personage than Beau Brummell, to make some pantaloons for himself and his 15-year-old son.  He had found “with great regret,” however, that they had arrived “a little too long & too full at the foot,” and that young Edward’s were “so much too long that they would seem not to have been made from his measure.”  He asked that the garments be re-hemmed and sent to Liverpool on the evening train.  As Everett himself was not leaving London until later that morning, he hinted that a Stultz tailor might even attend him in person as it was quite “unsafe to alter clothes without seeing them on.”

Edward Everett’s note to his tailor is part of the collections of WKU’s Special Collections Library.  Click here for a finding aid.  For other collections relating to politicians and diplomats, search TopScholar and KenCat.

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