Gray broadcloth with all over design of appliqued ribbon and couched black and white silk cord. Double ruffle of white satin edged chiffon. Ruffle of black lace over white taffeta and wide quilled chiffon ribbon. Cut steel buckels at back of neck. Lined with white taffeta.
Babette wore this broadcloth and chiffon cape, acquired at the Mandel Brothers store, during the height of her philanthropic career.
The Mandels personified Chicago's German Jewish community. Emanuel Mandel (c. 1844-1908) and Babette Frank Mandel (1848-1945) both emigrated from Bavaria as young children and grew up in Chicago. Emanuel prospered as part partner of the Mandel Brothers department store and married Babette in 1871. After the Great Fire, the couple moved to the South Side, where they lived near other German Jews in a small, close-knit, and increasingly affluent community. The Mandels attended Sinai Temple, a liberal Reform congregation, and raised three children according to its progressive teachings. As Emanuel continued to rise in Chicago business circles, Babette devoted herself to her family and numerous philanthropic activities. She directed most of her energies toward helping poor West Side Jewish immigrants, thus fulfilling the Jewish law of tzedakah (charity). After Emanuel's death, Babette continued her charity work and eventually moved to Highland Park, where she lived until her death a