Includes Burbidge's design drawings for wedding gowns while employed by the Priscilla of Boston firm, and scrapbooks documenting Cile Bellefleur-Burbidge's wedding cakes.
Scope and Contents:
Includes Burbidge's design drawings for wedding gowns while employed by the Priscilla of Boston firm, and two scrapbooks documenting Cile Bellefleur-Burbidge's wedding cakes. Also included are two books written by Cile Burbidge on cake decorating.
The collection is divided into three series.
Series 1: Wedding Gown Design Drawings and Materials Relating to John Burbidge, 1968-1985
Series 2; Wedding Cake Scrapbooks,
Series 3: Books,
Biographical / Historical:
John Burbidge was a creative and prolific fashion designer for the Priscilla of Boston wedding gown company from the late 1940s to 1985. Burbidge, born in 1922, went to work for the Priscilla of Boston firm in 1948, after graduating from the New England School of Art and Design and serving for three years in the Army during World War II. He started out operating a button machine and gradually worked his way up to designing. His technique involved clipping photographs of models from magazines, laying tracing paper over the cut-out, and tracing the figure, onto which he added his design. After creating, in his words, "hundreds" of sketches and doodles, he would work out the details in muslin. Eventually he achieved status as Priscilla Kidder's favorite designer and was known for his use of certain features, such as bows, bustled backs, puffed sleeves and "star" bodices. The high point in his career with Priscilla of Boston was in 1971 when he designed the wedding dress worn by President Nixon's daughter Tricia at her White House wedding. The design had a strong influence on wedding fashion, though the design used was never duplicated by the company. Since leaving Priscilla of Boston, Burbidge has made a second career designing and creating dolls in elegant historic costume, while Burbidge's wife, Cile Bellefleur-Burbidge, designs and creates elegant and elaborate wedding cakes.
Materials at the National Museum of American History
The Division of Home and Community Life has a collection of several Priscilla of Boston wedding gowns.
The collection was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Burbidge. The design drawings were donated in 1997 and the scrapbooks were donated in 2007.
The collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.