Faurot Family Fashion
Faurot daughters donate family clothing to Mizzou.
Don Faurot’s daughters — Jane Hazell, BJ ’55; Aileen Edwards, BS HE ’58; and Julie Crum, BA ’62 — weren’t immediately sure what to do with the perfectly preserved antique clothing they inherited from their mother, Mary Davidson Faurot. The silk walking dress, jacket, muff and shawl once belonged to Mary Helm, the sisters’ maternal great-great-grandmother, who wore it Sept. 1, 1842, the day she wed Judge John B. Helm.
Considering the combined Missouri history on both family tree limbs, donating the clothes to Mizzou was an easy choice. The items now belong to the Department of Textile and Apparel Management in the College of Human Environmental Sciences. They are displayed on Jesse Hall’s second floor through April 24.
“It’s really more of a wedding suit than a wedding dress,” says Hazell of the brown and gold ensemble. “It was the second marriage for both widow and widower.”
Helm owned a general store in Elizabethtown, Ky., before he moved the family to Hannibal, Mo., and made a name constructing most of the city’s downtown buildings. Family legend has it that a young Abraham Lincoln visited the general store where Helm would occasionally give the future president candy.
The Faurot girls spent their childhood completely enmeshed in Mizzou culture. Hazell recalls running around the track with friends while her legendary father coached the football Tigers on the field that would one day bear his name. She also remembers eavesdropping in the dining room corner during coaches meetings at the Faurot home on Virginia Avenue.
But the history on their mother’s side is equally compelling. The Faurot family and the State Historical Society of Missouri both have copies of the Helm’s prenuptial agreement, a rarity in the 19th century.
“[Mary Helm] owned property, but even though it was a prenuptial agreement, Judge Helm was to manage her property,” Crum says. “Women didn’t have many rights back then.”
The Victorian era clothes offer a perspective of the times in more ways than one.
“She was an itty-bitty gal,” says Edwards, laughing. “Of course, people were a lot smaller back then.”