History of Fashion Draws a Crowd

Karen Jessee in costumeThe highlight of the first day of spring on Tel Hai’s campus was a fascinating presentation by Karen Jessee, a collector of women’s historical and vintage fashions and accessories. The resident-developed event which attracted 125 ladies grew out of a desire to create a time of wonderful community fellowship and an opportunity to say “thank you” to staff that had gone “above-and-beyond” during the exceptional winter just past. The fund raiser’s net proceeds benefitted the Good Samaritan Fund which supports staff members in financial need as a result of health challenges or other family emergencies.

Tel Hai resident, Billy Guthrie’s knowledge of Ms. Jessee’s wonderful program was the spark that got things going. Joined by Fran Atkins, Ann Paton and Karen Runyon, the planning committee provided a memorable event for all to enjoy.  Jessee describes The Way We Wore program as an introduction to “200 years of the feminine silhouette…covering everything from bustles to bellbottoms.” Ms. Jessee shared the connection between the lives of women and the history of the period in which they lived; that in turn influenced the fashion of their day. A retired educator, Karen Jessee was also the recipient of the NBC National Teacher Award and became a professional organizer upon retirement.  This Wilmington, DE resident enjoys learning people’s stories, easy proximity to the theatre and museums and has traveled to England twice to study historical fashion.

Residents Ruthann Fleet and Marti Emmanuel were selected from the audience to model period attire. The program included displays of some garments and accessories that ladies in attendance were happy to no longer find in their own closets. “Tel Hai ladies and guests had a fascinating afternoon enjoying tea and learning about the history of women’s fashion—

and even taking a peek ‘under the skirt,’ ” committee member, Ann Paton offered. “Karen Jessee’s program has a huge WOW factor. If others have an opportunity to see any of her programs, our advice is don’t miss it!”

PHOTO: Karen Jessee’s The Way We Wore presentation covering 200 years of women’s fashion was a huge success on Tel Hai’s campus and a wonderful way to welcome spring. The fund raiser benefitted the Good Samaritan Fund which offers support to staff members in times of need. Karen Jessee, a retired educator, is an enchanting living history presenter.


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