Norway - VOSS Costume

Networks of Collectors and Makers

Some of the most delicate and fragile costumes in the collection were gathered by Mary Ann Herman, who, along with her husband, was one of the most important and influential members of the international folk dance movement. These items were either collected from their countries of origin or made for dance shows and performances.

Eventually, they were donated to Folklore Village by Karin Gottier. How exactly they passed from one hand to another is not entirely clear from the records at Folklore Village, but the close connections between folk dance instructors frequently resulted in shared costumes and collections. The Hermans were known to have wanted their costumes to be used for dance, so perhaps Gottier thought that Folklore Village would continue with this legacy. 

The collection from Karin Gottier and the Hermans contains garments from Croatia, former Czechoslovakia, Macedonia, Lithuania, Estonia, and also includes a few unidentified pieces.

"They’re elderly now—they’re elderly as I am (laughs). But there’s a deep friendship because at the time that we formed our folk dance groups we were all about the same age, and there was a great deal of emotional attachment, all of us, for each other. And I remember when we got invited to New York, by the Hermans, we were still sewing costumes, and putting hems in petticoats, on the way to New York in the car."

Jane Farwell, 1992 Interview with Doug Miller

Jane Farwell and Beatrice (Bea) Lever traveled together to Folk Dance events and courses in the 1950s and often purchased costumes in their travels. Lever left her collection to Folklore Village, and the items in the collection help tell the story of the friendships made between dancers and instructors. A number of her dresses are very similar to Farwell’s and may have been purchased together.

Farwell said in a 1992 interview that her Finnish-Swedish costume was the first costume that she ever purchased and that it came from "the Swedish part of Finland." However, Farwell's collection doesn’t seem to have a Hartola costume, but a Finnish costume from Lappfjärd-Tjöck. (Folklore Village Collection)
Austrian women's dirndl (Bea Lever Collection)
Bea Lever also donated a number of costumes from the Netherlands that she purchased in the 1950s. (Bea Lever Collection)
Women's costume from Brittany. (Bea Lever Collection)
A costume from Navarre, Portugal, purchased by Bea Lever in 1964. (Bea Lever Collection)
Japanese kimono (Bea Lever Collection)
Bea Lever's Hartola costume was purchased in Helsinki while with Farwell, but this costume does not match one in Jane's collection! Lever's notes state that she purchased it at Stockman’s Department Store in 1950 while attending the Helsinki Interscandinavian Festival on her first trip with Farwell. (Bea Lever Collection)
Bea Lever and Farwell had very similar Austrian dresses. Bea Lever's is pictured here. Lever's notes state that she purchased it in 1950 in Vienna, Austria. (Bea Lever Collection)
This bodice belongs to a costume from Marken. (Bea Lever Collection)
Bea Lever's Norwegian Gudbrandsdal dress, purchased in 1952. This costume is very similar to ones owned by Jane Farwell. (Bea Lever Collection)
Bea Lever's Romanian costume from the Oltenia region, purchased in 1960 from Andor Gompo in Romania. (Bea Lever Collection)
Bolivian women's costume. (Bea Lever Collection)

Other costumes came to Folklore Village because of the connections that were formed over the years of dancing and teaching together. Mary Barthelemy was a very active community member while living in Wisconsin and continued contact with Folklore Village after moving away from the state. Barthelemy traveled extensively as a young woman and donated several items to Folklore Village when she moved to Norway. From Norway, she helped source raw materials, garments, patterns, and reference materials for Folklore Village costumes. 

A dress from Skopje, Macedonia, for example, was worn as a wedding dress in the 1920s or 1930s before being purchased by Mary Barthelemy in the 1960s. (Folklore Village Collection)
Mary Barthelemy also purchased parts of this Norwegian Fanabunad from a second hand store in Norway, but some pieces were missing. One of the local dancers embroidered missing elements from threads that were brought from Norway. (Folklore Village Collection)

Another community member, Madeline Uraneck, frequently helped Farwell purchase materials and costumes while traveling.

Uraneck purchased this Ahka Thai costume while visiting Thailand in 1988. (Folklore Village Collection)
Pictured here is a receipt for materials for a Swedish folk costume. Uraneck purchased the materials for Farwell while on a trip to Sweden in 1978. (Folklore Village Archives)
Catalog notes on Akha Thai costume. This note and image of Uraneck in the costume are stored with the instructions for putting on the ensemble. (Folklore Village Archives)
Receipt for the Östergötland folkdress. Purchased by Madeline Uraneck in 1978. (Folklore Village Archives)