• 0152012391.JPG

Object ID
2012.39.1
Object Name
Gown, Wedding
Object Entities
Williams, Jo (is related to)
Object Description
A cream colored wedding dress. The back of the dress has two strips of the fabric and on the ends of the two pieces there is a small design with white beads. The dress has two layers and at the bottom of each layer there is a small section that has a design made out of white beads and hanging off the edge of the dress there is a string of white beads. There is also a design made from the white beads, there are two strips going across and one up to the shoulders on both sides, at the middle/stomach section of the dress. That same pattern is on the back as well. The sleeves look to be a 3/4 length, but could be long sleeve, and is made out of the very light material that the rest of the dress has. Halfway down the sleeve there is a small section of white beads and at the end of the sleeve it has a cream colored silk-type fabric. The collar has a string around it and ties in the front.
Origin
Mr and Mrs. Chris Gianakura, May 7, 1921, New York, New York Chris (Christos). the oldest of six children, was the son of Panagiote and Sophia Giannakoura. He was born November 18, 1874, in Megalopolis, Greece. Since his family was very poor, he decided to find a good paying job in Athens. There, at the age of nineteen until he was twenty-seven, he worked in a pharmacy hoping to become a pharmacist. He must have had a friend or relative who had migrated to the United States. Persuaded by this person that three was a lot of money to be made in the New World, Chris left Athens and sailed to America with his parents' blessings. He was not able to continue his career in pharmacy in America since he did not know the language. After trying several different jobs he finally settled upon establishing an ice cream parlor. the slogan of this ice cream parlor known as the American Cafe was "Serving the Soo Since 1902." The Soo is Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Meanwhile, back in Megalopolis, Chris' parents were anxious. Chris, by now was forty-nine years old, was unmarried and had never even returned to Greece for a short visit. He felt very obligated to earn as much money as he could to support not only himself, but also his family in Greece. He regularly sent money to the family for food and clothing. Panagiote and Sophia went to visit their local priest, the Reverend John Economou and asked if he could find a wife for their "rich" son in America. This priest had a family of five daughters and one son. He knew that the Giannakoura family was a fine Christian family. Papa Econonomou did not look very far. He chose his third daughter Katherine to wed Christos. Katherine was twenty-four years old. Katherine had a first cousin named Georgia who was going to America to marry her fiance. The two cousins sailed to America together. During the trip Katherine carried a photo of Chris in her purse. She prayed that Chris would not be at the harbor waiting for her when the ship arrived. He was waiting there with Georgia's fiance. Chris cared for his shy bride-to-be tenderly. With Georgia's help, a wedding dress was chosen. The newlyweds arrived in the Soo where Katherine met other young brides from Greece. Within three years the newly weds had three children. Eventually the family grew to five children. Greek was the first language in their home, English the second language. Life centered around St. George's Greek Orthodox Church which Chris helped establish. Chris never saw his family in Greece again. He held his lonliness to himself and buried it with hard work, devotion, and love as he raised his family. He continued to send money and clothes to his family in Greece. A check made out to his niece whom he never knew in person was found in his billfold when he died. He had gone to the stationery shop to purchase a card for her. There, he had a heart attack. He passed away March 9, 1962, at the age of eighty-eight leaving Katherine a widow at the age of sixty seven. Katherine did return to Greece later with a first cousin. After forty-seven years, she finally saw her sisters again. She stayed for four months, shedding bitter-sweet tears every day. On September 23, 1989, at the age of ninety-one, Katherine passed away, leaving her children and grandchildren her smothered love.
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Citation
Gown, Wedding, National Hellenic Museum, https://collections.nationalhellenicmuseum.org/Detail/objects/9092. Accessed 04/16/21.