Dowry

"The property which a woman brings to her husband in marriage" according to the first source cited. Upon marriage, a bride's dowry property devolves to the exclusive use, but not ownership, of her husband so long as the marriage endures, but reverts to the wife if she survives him. U. S. genealogists will often find in colonial wills (mostly males, of course) the exclusion of this property by the husband from his bequests, using a phrase such as "except what [she] brought with her" or "except for her portion", both of which refer to her dowry.

A dowry and a Dower are related as described in the second source cited: the former describes the financial condition of a woman at the beginning, while the latter speaks to the condition at the end of the marriage -- in the case when the marriage is terminated by death of the husband.

Source: (1) Black's Law Dictionary, 4th Edition; (2) Robert Charles Anderson, Dower or dowry?, NGS News Magazine, (58), December 2004