Saturday, May 30, 2009

Civil War Head Covering

Hometown History of the Post Journal of Jamestown, NY, posts: "Bonnets Of The Underground Railroad Era", By Phoebe Forbes.

There are two pieces of women's headwear on display in the new Underground Railroad exhibit at the Fenton History Center. Both are from the period when the Underground Railroad was active in this area - the period from circa 1840 to 1860.

The article includes quite a bit on the history of headwear during that period of time, which some of our readers might find interesting. Some of the information includes:

A lady during this time period should always wear a head covering in public - either a bonnet or a hat with a veil. Headgear protected the head from cold and the face from the sun, the wind and prying eyes. It was an essential accessory. It more importantly contributed to a woman's self image as a proper, ideal lady.

The more utilitarian the headwear, the more people associated it with physical labor and thus a lower class. Old-fashioned bonnets or plain cotton sun bonnet styles were considered headwear for the poor and for slaves. Utilitarian bonnets were more often worn in rural communities.

More information may be found at the linked title provided above, including information and website of the Fenton History Center, which looks like a very interesting place to visit.
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