The dress belonged to Esther Maria (Lili) Lewis Chapin (1871–1959), the great-great granddaughter of George Washinton's sister, Elizabeth Washington Lewis, 1733–1779. One of her great grandfathers was Col. John Stevens, 1749–1838, Treasurer of the State of New Jersey from 1776–1799, who established the first ferry service from Hoboken to New York in 1774. His son, Edwin Augustus Stevens, 1795–1868 founded the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, which opened in 1871. Esther's father, Col. Edward Parke Custis Lewis, 1837–1892 was the American Minister to Portugal under President Grover Cleveland from 1885 to 1889. It is towards the latter part of this period that Esther, age 17 or 18, was presented to a European court wearing this gown and train.