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DEMOREST, MME. Madame Demorest (1824-1898) created one of the most important and influential fashion empires in the late nineteenth century. She was born Ellen Louise Curtis in Schuylerville, New York, on 15 November 1824. After graduating from Schuylerville Academy at the age of eighteen, Ellen moved to Saratoga Springs, where she opened a millinery shop with the financial help of her father, a hat factory owner. She apparently achieved some success and decided to move to New York City with her business. There she met a widower, William Jennings Demorest, a dry goods merchant who had recently opened Madame Demorest's Emporium of Fashion on Broadway. Ellen Curtis and William Demorest married in 1858. A perfect embodiment of the new Madame Demorest's Emporium, Ellen was pivotal to the expansion and diversification of her husband's business and became one of the most influential arbiters of fashion of her era.
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