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Historic gown on display for first time since 1955

October 6, 2012
By Beth Christian Broschart Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

Members of the Maple Leaf Society have once again created a very special display for the Mountain State Forest Festival. The exhibit is located in the lobby of Citizens Bank of West Virginia in Elkins.

This exhibition, which includes the gown, train and an oil portrait of Queen Silvia XIX, is the first public viewing of the collection since the reign of Queen Silvia XIX Mary Ann Power Douglas. It is on loan from the former queen's husband, Robert E. Douglas and the Douglas family.

Mary Ann Power Douglas was the first Queen Silvia from Martinsburg. Emily McGibbin Everson, this year's Queen Silvia, also hails from Martinsburg.

Article Photos

The Inter-Mountain photo by Beth Christian Broschart
The portrate on display was based on the above photo of Mountain State Forest Festival Queen Silvia XIX Mary Ann Power Douglas and is part of the exhibit featuring the dress. The exhibit was created by members of the Maple Leaf Society.

Maple Leaf Society President Susan K. Kump said the group is thrilled to be able to share this new display with festival goers.

"We are so pleased to be able to offer the first glimpse of this collection," Kump said. "We extend thanks to the former queen's husband and family for the use of these items."

Kump said Robert Douglas, a Charleston attorney, visited the 2011 display of 31 Mountain State Forest Festival Queen Silvia gowns at the West Virginia Cultural Center in Charleston. This inspired him to lend his late wife's MSFF memorabilia for others to enjoy.

The 1955 Mountain State Forest Festival program lists Queen Silvia XIX Mary Ann Power as the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Curtis Garland Power. She graduated in 1955 from West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Arts degree and enrolled in the West Virginia University School of Medicine. She was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority and was elected in 1954 as a member of the Mortar Board, a ranking women's honorary society at WVU. She was interested in swimming, tennis, horseback riding and fishing, and was a highly trained musician.

The queen also had connections with folks in Elkins. She was a Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority sister and roommate of Elkins resident JoAnn Talbott. Douglas' husband attended law school with Dick Talbott, and Mary Ann Power Douglas was a bridesmaid in the Talbotts' wedding.

JoAnn Talbott said the display oil portrait of Queen Silvia XIX hung in the Kappa Kappa Gamma House at West Virginia University for more than a decade.

"Members of Kappa Kappa Gamma were very proud of their sorority sister," JoAnn Talbott said.

The Maple Leaf Society includes all former Mountain State Forest Festival queens, maids of honor, director generals, directors of the queen's department and parents of former queens and maids of honor. The group was established in 2009 by the Mountain State Forest Festival to promote and preserve the heritage of the festival's royal court.

 
 

 

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