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She deftly tied her boimet on,
The little sober meeting lass,
All in her neat white curtained room before her
tiuy looking glass.

" So nicely round her lady- cheeks
She smoothed her bands of glossy hair,
And innocently wondered if
Her bonnet did uot make her fair ;
Then sternly chid her foolish heart for harbour-
ing such fancies there.

' So square she tied the satin strings,
And set the bows beneath her chin ;
Then smiled to see how sweet she looked,
Then thought her vanity a sin,
And she must put such thoughts away before
the sermon should begin.

" But sitting 'neath the preacher's word,
Demurely in her father's pew,
She thought about her bonnet still,
Yes, all the parson's sermon through,
About the pretty bows and buds which better
than the text she knew.

" Yet sitting there with peaceful face,
The reflex of her simple soul,
She looked to be a very saint
And inaybe was one on the whole,
Only that her pretty bonnet kept away the aureole."

The bonnet referred to in the following verse must have been
especially attractive :

* Mrs. Mary Wilkins Freeman.



HISTORIC DRESS IN AMERICA 203

"THE LOVE KNOT
" Tying her bonnet under her chin,
She tied her raven ringlets in ;
But not alone in its silken snare
Did she catch her lovely floating hair,
For tying her bonnet under her chin,
She tied a young man's heart within."

Mantles trimmed and lined with fur were very fashionable.
Sable, Isabella bear and a delicate fur called Kolinski were all
used. A silk cord fastened the mantle at the waist and hung
down low in front, finished with a handsome tassel. Olives
and Brandenburgs were used as fastenings on velvet pelisses.
Sleeves were very wide from the shoulder to the wrist and there
finished with a deep cuff. Satin bonnets were trimmed with
satin ribbon to match and bordered by curtain veils of rich
black lace. The curtains at the back were very shallow and
moderately full.

Among the new materials of the year were Persian taffeta
with milk white or cream white ground, covered with small
bouquets of roses and satin moyenage with a dark blue ground
and an arabesque pattern in gold, or black with red figures. A
new design for bodices was cut high at the throat, the front laid
in plaits from the shoulder to the waist, like a fan. Long full
sleeves caught in with two bands giving the effect of three puffs.
The short puffed sleeves of 1835 were called melon sleeves ; over
them long sleeves of blond lace were sometimes worn. In a
fashion column of the "Court Magazine" for July, 1835, we
read : " Lightness and simplicity are this month's character-
istics, but it is a simplicity as expensive as it is tasteful ; the
rich satins, velvets and furs of winter costumes were not in
reality more costly than the comparatively plain attire of the
present month."

Very dainty but costly must have been the peignoir described



204 HISTORIC DRESS IN AMERICA

for that month, made of French cambric trimmed down the
front with a deep ruffle of Valenciennes lace caught together at
intervals by knots of the cambric edged with lace. The pelerine
or shoulder cape was also trimmed with Valenciennes. We
read about this time of a new Swiss muslin, with rich foulard
patterns stamped on it. The bonnets and hats were enormously
big in 1835. The brims were wider, the crowns were higher,
and the curtains of bonnets were deeper. Veils of blond, illu-
sion, or dent die de soie were fastened to the brims of some of the
newest bonnets.

We hear at this time of a new ribbon. It was of six differ-
ent colours very tastefully mingled, in patterns of a rather
bizarre effect, and was called Chinese ribbon. Flowers of all
kinds, as well as feathers, were worn in hats. Printed cambrics,
figured organdies, inoussdine de laine and delicate lingerie con-
tinued in favour, and fichus of mull and lace were still very
popular. One striking novelty is recorded for this year (1835) :
gloves of rose-colour and of flesh-colour were preferred to white.

Turbans, although not as generally popular as they had
been, were still worn. A new style was called the turban
a la juice. It was made of white satin covered with tulle and
ornamented with bandalettes a I'antique, embroidered with gold,
and hanging down in the back almost to the neck. Another
turban worn in that same year is described as " of the Turkish
form " and as made of white net and maize coloured velvet, or-
namented with two aigrettes held in place by a gold ornament
set with brilliants.

A popular American periodical which first appeared in
1830, and had a wide circulation, was the " Lady's Book," pub-
lished by Louis Godey in Philadelphia. It was founded on
somewhat the same basis as the " Court Magazine " in London,
containing serial stories and verses by recognized authors of the



HISTORIC DRESS IN AMERICA 205

da} r , as well as fashion plates in colour. Two evening costumes
for 1835 are described in the September number :

" A printed satin robe, white ground with a pattern in vivid
colours of small sprigs in winding columns. The corsage is cut
very low and square at the back and front of the bust, but
rather higher on the shoulder than they are generally made,
and pointed at the waist. It is trimmed round the top with a
single row of narrow blond lace laid on flat. Blond lace long
sleeves of the usual size at the top, and moderately full from
the elbow to the wrist; they are made open from the bend of
the arm, but are caught together in three places by gold filagree
buttons, and surmounted by mancherons of broad blond lace.
The hair, parted on the forehead, is arranged on each side in a
plaited band, which is doubled and hangs low. The back hair,
also arranged in a braid, is twisted round the top of the head.
Gold earrings, necklace and bracelets. White kid gloves;
white satin slippers.

" A robe of pale rose-coloured mousseline de soie over yros de
Naples to correspond. A low corsage fitting close but with a lit-
tle fullness at the bottom of the waist ; trimmed round the
neck with a blond lace ruche. Short undersleeves of white
gros de. Nj>les, with an oversleeve of blond lace of the Marino
Faliero shape confined by a gold agraffe on the shoulder.
Armlets and ceinture of gold net, with gold clasps. The hair is
parted on the forehead and turned up behind ; the ends form a
cluster of curls. A band of fancy jewelry and bunches of gold
wheat complete the coiffure. White silk net gloves. White
gros de Naples slippers of the sandal form."

An attractive costume, which was worn in Pennsylvania, is
given in Figure 87. The gown is of soft sage satin with bro-
caded flowers of the same colour made with bias folds of the
satin, broad at the shoulder and tapering in at the waist ; the



HISTORIC DEESS IN AMERICA



folds are finished with a shell trimming of the satin, the
same trimming being used on the caps of the sleeves and on the
cuffs. This unusually pretty dress was worn by Miss Halde-
man. The style was fashionable in 1838 and the bonnet is
copied from a plate of the same date.

Fashion was by no means an unimportant factor in the so-
cial life of rural neighbourhoods throughout the United States.
Mrs. Gaskell's tea-party at Cranford might easily have taken
place in a small community in Virginia or in New England,
for instance. We remember the invitation was discussed and
then accepted because " Miss Pole possessed a very smart cap
which she was anxious to show to an admiring world." The
expenditure in dress in Cranford was principally in the article
referred to. If the heads were buried in smart caps, the ladies
were like ostriches, and cared not what became of their bodies.
With old gowns, yellow and venerable collars, any number
of brooches (some with dog's eyes painted on them, some that
were like small picture-frames with mausoleums and weeping-
willows neatly executed in hair inside ; some again with minia-
tures of ladies and gentlemen sweetly smiling out of a nest of
stiff muslin) and new caps to suit the fashion of the day, " the
ladies of Cranford always dressed with chaste elegance and pro-
priety," as Miss Barber once fittingly expressed it. " And with
these new caps, and a greater array of brooches than had ever
been seen together at one time since Cranford was a town, did
Miss Forrester, and Miss Matty, and Miss Pole appear on that
memorable Tuesday evening. I counted seven brooches myself
on Miss Pole's dress. Two were fixed negligently in her cap
(one was a butterfly of Scotch pebbles which a vivid imagina-
tion might believe to be a real insect) ; one fastened her net
neckerchief; one her collar; one ornamented the front of her
gown between throat and waist ; another adorned the front



HISTORIC DRESS IN AMERICA 207

of her stomacher. Where the seventh was I have forgotten, but
it was somewhere about her, I am sure."

Needlework was still in vogue and was commended in the
following verses by a contemporary poet :

' THE NEEDLE

" The gay belles of fashion may boast of excelling

lu waltz or cotillion, at whist or quadrille ;
And seek adiniratioii by vauntiugly telling

Of drawing and painting and musical skill ;
But give ine the fair one in country or city

Whose home and its duties are dear to her heart,
Who cheerfully warbles some rustical ditty,

While plying the needle with exquisite art.
The bright little needle, the swift flying needle,

The needle directed by beauty and art.

" If love have a potent, a magical token,

A talisman ever resistless and true,
A charm that is never evaded or broken,

A witchery certain the heart to subdue
'Tis this, and his armoury never has furnished

So keen and uuerriug or polished a dart
Let beauty direct it, so pointed and burnished,

And oh, it is certain of touching the heart.

" Be wise then, ye maidens, nor seek admiration

By dressing for conquest and flirting with all ;
Tou never, whate'er be your fortune or station,

Appear half so lovely at rout or at ball
As gaily convened at a work-covered table,

Each cheerfully active and playing her part,
Beguiling the task with a song or a fable,

And plying the needle with exquisite art."

A photograph of the wedding outfit worn by Miss Sarah
Hayes who, in 1836, married Major Mordecai, a distinguished
officer of the United States Army, in the Synagogue in Phila-
delphia, is given in Figure 170. The gown is of the sheerest,
filmiest India muslin we have seen, and was imported for the



1802-1864

FIGURE 157. 1813 Little girl iu pantalettes. From a plate.
FIGURE 158. 1802 Mother and children. From a portrait of Mrs. Hind.
FIGURE 159. 1837 Girl in pantalettes.
FIGURE 160. 1820 Mother and child.

FIGURE 161. 1850 Boy in sailor costume. From a contemporary portrait.
FIGURE 162. 1854 Boys in Highland dress. From a portrait.



HISTORIC DRESS IN AMERICA 211

occasion by the bride's father, one of the leading merchants of
the day. The slippers have square toes, the new fashion for
1836, and the short gloves are embroidered and originally were
trimmed with blond lace to match the veil. The handker-
chief case was the work of the bridesmaids and also the beauti-
fully embroidered handkerchief with " Sarah " in flowered
letters in one corner. The fan is an exquisite specimen of
carved ivory made in India, with the monogram of the bride in
the centre. The marriage certificate is in Hebrew characters,
which unfortunately do not show in the photograph. We
notice that the sleeves were originally puffed, a very fashion-
able style in 1836.

About this date the extravagantly large sleeves went out
of fashion, and were followed by a more graceful style, fitting
close to the arm on top and full at the elbows.

In Figure 230 is shown a gown of cream white figured silk
worn in 1837 by a Quaker maiden at a wedding in a Phila-
delphia Meeting. The sleeves are in the new fashion, which
succeeded the leg-of-mutton in popularity. The hair is copied
from a contemporary portrait.

Some of the costumes worn by Queen Victoria, her coronation
robes as well as some every-day dresses, are exhibited in her
rooms at Kensington Palace, and it is surprising to see what
a little woman the great queen was. One gown of black
poplin, worn on some occasion of court mourning, has very
small sleeves, finished with exquisitely neat little cuffs of em-
broidered muslin.

In 1837, when President Van Buren took up his abode at
the White House, Mr. Andrew Stevenson was sent as Minister
to Great Britain from the United States, and was of course
present at the coronation of Queen Victoria with Mrs. Steven-
son, whose portrait was afterwards painted by Healey in the



212 HISTOKIC DRESS IN AMERICA

costume she wore when she was presented at the Queen's Draw-
ing-room. This picture is well known and we regret space
will not permit us to give a copy of it here.

A Philadelphia bride of 1838 wore the attractive gown
shown in Figure 228. It is made of white satin and the trim-
mings are of blond lace. With this costume short gloves with
embroidered tops were worn fastening over the band of the
long lace sleeves as shown in the illustration. The veil and
arrangement of hair are copied from a portrait of the same year.
The dress in Figure 74 belonged to the same bride. The colour
is a delicate pink and the sash of soft figured satin ribbon to
match ; the lace at the neck and on the sleeves is of white blond
which was the favourite of fashion at the time. The hair is
copied from an English portrait.



Women's Dress

1840-1850

" Change of Fashion is the tax which industry
imposes on the vanity of the rich."




ITH the new year, 1840, we notice a decided
change in bonnets. The immense flaring
brims which had been worn for the last ten
years were replaced by a new shape some-
what resembling the capotes of the early
years of the nineteenth century. The long
veils of brocaded gauze so fashionable in
the thirties were also superseded by shorter
veils of net or lace, with small figures or
with plain centres of lace with figured borders (Figures 128
and 131).

In a letter from the Paris correspondent to the " Court Maga-
zine " for July, 1840, we find the following description of the
new bonnets : " They are worn rather close to the face and
made of Faille de riz, Crepe lisse, Leghorn and fine straws. The
crowns sit back quite flat and the fronts are rather less open but
very long at the ears." (See Figures 128, 129 and 131.)

" The most elegant bonnets are covered with what we call a
voilette of lace or tulle illusion ; this little veil does not fall over
the face, but merely covers the bonnet, being frequently brought
from underneath the front ; a long lappet falls as low as the

waist from each side of the front."

213



214: HISTORIC DRESS IN AMERICA

A bonnet worn in Philadelphia in 1840, of white ribbed
silk, trimmed with white satin ribbon and a voilctte of blond
lace hanging in long lappets on each side, and with pale pink
flowers inside the brim, belongs to Miss Dutihl's Collection at
Memorial Hall. A picture of it is given in Figure 131.

" On coloured silk bonnets these voilettes are made of the
same shade as the silk. Drawn capotes are also de mode ; some
have voilettes and others a narrow ruche of white tulle round the
edge of the front. Straws and Leghorns are trimmed with
velvet, violet or dark green being the favourite colours for this
purpose ; a torsade intermingled with straw goes round the
crown, and the brim is edged inside and out with a band of
velvet more than an inch in depth. A flat ostrich feather is
placed at one side and lies perfectly flat across the bonnet,
drooping to the opposite side ; this feather may be white or the
colour of the velvet, or any colour that contrasts well with the
trimming. The younger ladies who do not wear feathers prefer
a half wreath of field flowers."

The same correspondent announced that long cachemire
shawls were coming in and would take the place of square
shawls. They were to be worn as scarfs. " White, black and
blue grounds with patterns of palms or rosettes joined with light
running patterns," were the most desirable combinations.
" Black shawls trimmed with lace or fringe, and black silk
scarfs trimmed all round with lace, or only with silk fringe at
the ends, are universally worn. Coloured silk scarfs are also
in fashion," and it was considered tres distingue, AVC learn, to
have your scarf and your dress of the same colour, and with a
white dress a scarf of the colour of the bonnet.

Lace was worn extensively in the forties. Brussels and
Honiton lace were perhaps the most fashionable. Queen
Victoria's wedding dress (February 10, 1840) was of this beauti-



HISTOEIC DEESS IN AMEEICA 215

ful fabric made at the picturesque village in Devon from which
the lace gets its name.

The first note on crinoline, so soon to be an indispensable
adjunct to the fashionable toilet, is given in the same letter from
Paris : " Of course you have heard of the Jupons de Crinoline ;
they are very light and cool, and make the dress sit beautifully,
and one perfection in them is that they never crease or get out
of form."

Sleeveless jackets, called Canegous, came into fashion in
1840. They were open in front, but finished at the neck with
small collars, and were either richly embroidered or trimmed
with lace,$ In 1840 we read of white spencers, to be worn like
our modern blouses with coloured skirts. Another familiar
fashion of to-day seems to be a revival of 1840 ; cuflfs and collars
on the sleeves and neck are spoken of by a contemporary author
as "indispensable." Spencers of black or coloured velvet were
a very becoming fashion.

Close-fitting dresses, called Redingotes, were very popular
at this time. We read of one in a London magazine, made
of white India muslin lined with pale blue silk and trimmed
with lace, and another lined with pink and trimmed with hand
embroidery. Sleeves were either tight or full according to the
fancy of the wearer ; specimens are given in Figures 128 and 136.
Bodices were made with a sharp point at the waist in front and
round in the back, and were usually open at the throat, and
either worn over a chemisette or finished with a ruching of lace
for morning or street wear. Evening gowns were cut low and
finished with a bertha of lace, or silk to match the dress
(Figures 134 and 135).

Very elaborate head-dresses were worn at this date, made of
India muslin or organdie, trimmed with lace. Applique and
English point lace were used instead of the blond lace which



216 HISTORIC DEESS IN AMERICA

had been so fashionable in the thirties. (See Figures 134, 139
and 233.) The front hair was worn either in broad braids,
smooth bands, or in long ringlets, while the back hair was
braided or coiled very low on the neck. Short gloves were still
in fashion and trimmed with lace, swansdown, ribbon, etc.
They were either fastened with buttons (two or four) or laced
up with a silk cord.

At this period, slender waists being very much admired,
the bodices were gradually made with deeper points and worn
without belts, and the gathers of the full skirts were distributed
at the sides and back to produce that effect. An authority of
this time says : " I agree with the doctors in setting my face
against tight lacing, the most dangerous practice a lady can
persevere in ; so have your dress made with a long waist ; have
your petticoat gathered into a very broad band cut on the cross
way, and with a point in front, so as not to have gathers under
the point of your dress ; let the petticoat be made of crinoline, or
of a very thick cotton material with a sort of honeycomb pattern
all over ; this will make your dress appear sufficiently full and
form a proper contrast to the waist, thereby sparing you the
necessity and agony as well as injury, of tight lacing."

Wadded cachemire shawls were in vogue, but the newest
wrap was a small wadded cape with a pointed hood. We read,
too, of the Palatine, a cloak of much the same style made of
black satin wadded and lined with blue, rose-colour, or apricot
satin trimmed all round with black lace, and reaching to the
knees in front, the hood made to be drawn over at pleasure ;
especially adaptable for an evening wrap.

A walking dress for the winter of 1840 is described in the
" Court Magazine " : " Made of satin lined and wadded through-
out ; the corsage close fitting, and with tight sleeves with two
seams. Upon the front of the waist is a trimming consisting of



HISTORIC DRESS IN AMERICA 217

four rows of black lace set on in regular fluted plaits, extend-
ing from the shoulder to the waist in the form of a V, and is
likewise carried across the back in the style of a pelerine ; besides
this the trimming is carried down each side of the front breadth
of the skirt en tablier, becoming wider as it goes down and also
increasing in distance."

In 1841, we notice that sleeves were worn long and close-fit-
ting for house and street wear, sometimes finished with an
epaulet cap called a jockey (Figure 136). Evening dresses were
made with voluminous skirts trimmed with flounces ; bodices
fitted close to the figure and were stiffly boned and finished
with a point coming a little below the waist line in front.
Berthas of lace or of the same material as the dress were not
only in the height of fashion during the forties, but have been
a favourite style of trimming ever since.

The numerous Daguerreotypes of that period furnish us
with many accurate details of dress. From these we learn that
it was still the fashion to wear the hair parted in the middle,
and although curls which had been the favourite style for so
many years were still worn, the most fashionable arrangement
was to draw the front hair down in smooth bands concealing
the ears and fasten the ends with the coil at the back. Often
the front hair was braided in many strands. The so-called
" Polish braid " was in nine strands and was most becoming to
a delicate face. When the hair was very long, the braids were
often carried across the head, making a sort of coronet. (See
Figure 136.) In many of the portraits of Queen Victoria we
notice this effect, but it was a favourite style in America too ;
at that period almost every lady had an abundance of natural
hair, and very little false hair was worn.

In 1841 Mrs. Julia Ward Howe made a visit to England and
records in her " Reminiscences" some of the costumes worn by



1860-1870
FIGURE 163. 1864 Snail hat with rolling brim and feathers. From a

print of the time.
FIGURE 164. 1860-70 Turban hat with white feather. From a print of

the time.

FIGURE 165. 1862 Mushroom hat and Garibaldi blouse. From a con-
temporary print.
FIGURE 166. 1868 Croquet costume showing small hat worn over a

" waterfall." The ruffled skirt is short and shows the Balmoral boots.

From a contemporary picture.
FIGURE 167. 1860-70 House maid in a figured calico and small cap.

From an English print.

FIGURE 168. 1860 Hair arranged in a chenille net. From a print.
FIGURE 169. 1860 A jockey hat and feather. From a contemporary

print



HISTORIC DRESS IN AMERICA 221

English ladies of note in the early days of Queen Victoria's
reign. She met the beautiful Mrs. Norton at a dinner, and
says : " Her hair, which was decidedly black, was arranged in
flat bandeaux according to the fashion of the time. A diamond
chain formed of large links encircled her fine head. Her eyes
were dark and full of expression. Her dress was unusually
d&colletee, but most of the ladies present would in America have
been considered extreme in that respect." *

On another occasion Mrs. Howe met the Duchess of Suther-
land, and describes her costume as follows :

" She wore a brown gauze or barege over light blue satin
with a wreath of brown velvet leaves and blue forget-me-nots in
her hair, and on her arm, among other beautiful jewels, a min-
iature of the Queen set in diamonds." A dress of pink moir6
worn by the same lady, with a wreath of velvet leaves inter-
spersed with diamonds, is also mentioned. Wreaths of artificial
flowers combined with ribbons or jewels were fashionable from
1840 to 1850. (See Figure 139.)

A letter from Paris, written in 1841, describes an evening
costume of pale blue satin trimmed with sable round the bot-
tom of the skirt and up the front en tablier, the short plain
sleeves also trimmed with the fur. The bodice was made with
a deep point. A toque of blue velvet was worn with this dress
ornamented with a Henri IV plume fastened with a diamond
aigrette. The graceful Pompadour sleeves, with ruffles of lace
falling very low at the back of the arm, were revived in 1841,


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