Madame Glover: A Working-Class Immigrant Clothing Louisville’s Elite
Anna Casey was born in 1861 in Ireland, the eldest of a large family. Her family left Ireland when she was a young child, arriving in Louisville near the peak of immigration, when the Irish comprised 7.5% of the population. When she was a teenager she began working as a seamstress to support her family. Casey was representative of many women in the sewing trade, who often came from working class backgrounds.
In 1886, Casey married Walter E. Glover, who soon became known as one of the best-dressed men in the city. Mr. Glover was in the insurance and hotel businesses, but one of his primary enterprises soon became managing his wife’s dressmaking business. This arrangement suited Madame Glover (as she was now known professionally); she was free to design while her husband handled the business affairs and kept the books.
Madame Glover garnered much work from debutantes, who required twelve to eighteen dresses for a season. She traveled to Paris to keep up with current fashion trends and find inspiration, making more than 100 trips to Europe for cloth and trimmings over the course of her career. She is credited with introducing Louisville to one of Paris’ latest fashions in 1910: a slim, tight skirt called the hobble skirt.