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Side-Fold Dress

Northern Plains

late 18th/ early 19th century

moose hide, paint, quills
length: 46 ½"

Inventory # P4225c


This form of early dress is extremely rare outside museum collections. In total, only 12 full size examples are known (including this one) plus two dolls in museum collections wearing this type of garment. Because collection history is lacking with many of these dresses, cultural attribution is largely speculative. Where collection history is not known, scholars have classified these side-fold dresses as either Sioux-type or Cree-type based on their stylistic attributes.


The Forbes family, Edinburgh, Scotland

According to oral tradition within the Forbes family, this dress was brought back to Scotland from Canada by George Forbes (1849-1936) who was a consulting engineer for the Niagara Falls & River Railway Power House, in Niagara Falls, Ontario. However, it is more likely that the Native American garments in the Forbes family’s possession arrived earlier to Scotland via business connections of Forbes’s grandfather Sir William Forbes, 7th Baronet of Pitsligo (1773–1828), or of his great-grandfather, Sir William Forbes, 6th Baronet of Pitsligo and Monymusk (1739–1806), a lawyer and co-owner of one of the most successful private banks in Edinburgh.