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Reproduction Uniform worn by Lieutenant Commander Claire Bloom

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Lieutenant Commander Claire V. Bloom became the first woman to wear an officer’s 1813-style uniform in the modern U.S. Navy when she served as executive officer (second in command) of USS Constitution from 1996 to 1998. Women were prohibited from serving in the U.S. Navy in the 1800s, so Bloom was the first woman to wear such a uniform. Though the uniform was the first of its kind, the pattern strives to maintain fidelity to the regulation officer uniforms of the 1812 period.  It includes the first 1813-style jacket to have darts in the bust, and is decorated with a single gold epaulette. Other elements of the uniform include a shirt, waistcoat, breeches, jabot, and cocked hat. The white tights were manufactured by Victoria’s Secret.

The handbag that accompanies Bloom’s uniform is a standard 1990s-era U.S. Navy issue handbag that she used while serving aboard Constitution. It is made of a synthetic black material and has a long shoulder strap and gold clasp. In a 1998 interview with the Boston Globe, Bloom explained that she wore the handbag because her reproduction uniform lacked adequate pockets.

Date Created
1996

Medium
Cloth

Catalog Number
1644.1-9, 1645.1-2

Credit Line
Naval History and Heritage Command Detachment Boston Loan [1644.1-9]; USS Constitution Museum Collection. Claire Bloom Gift [1645.1-2]

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