Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


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Date Created

Mid 1880s


Women's costume accessories; Worn costume accessories; Headgear


Velvet, glazed cotton, ribbon, buckram, wire


Mid-1880s. Deep purple velvet bonnet constructed over buckram and wire.

The brim goes all the way around the bonnet, wider in front than in back. It comes to a sharp high peak at the center top of the bonnet before swooping down at either side to form a pointed indentation at the center back bottom. The brim is reinforced with wire at its outer edge and at its base where it joins the crown. The crown makes a sharp angle as it transitions from its sides to the back panel of the bonnet; this is also reinforced with wire. The velvet is in three pieces, seamed together where the brim joins the crown and where the back panel of the crown joins the side of the crown.

A separate piece of the velvet is pleated along its length and wrapped along the base of the brim all the way around the bonnet as a kind of hat band. Purple grosgrain ribbon edged in cord and fringe is tied into a four-lobed bow and sewn to the pleated velvet at the top of the head. More ribbon is wrapped around the hat band from where it hangs freely to form the bonnet ties. A small ribbon bow is sewn to the center back bottom above the brim’s indentation.

The area of the brim visible when worn is lined with the same purple velvet, seamed to the outside fabric along the brim edge over the wire. The remainder of the brim and crown are lined with black glazed cotton. Hand-sewn.


Depth: 6.4 cm / 2.5 in. (depth of brim)
Depth: 7.6 cm / 3 in. (depth of crown)
Height: 12.7 cm / 5 in. (height of crown)
Length: 50.8 cm / 20 in. (length of tie)


Gift of Margaret Hamilton Ffrost and Elizabeth Rollins Ffrost. Likely worn in and around Dover, New Hampshire by Martha Hale Low Ffrost (1842-1925), mother of the donors.

Museum Number



University of New Hampshire Library


Astrida Schaeffer, photographer/curator

Date Digitized


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License


The Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection digital catalog was produced by the UNH Library Digital Collection Initiative, supported in part by a grant from the Mooseplate program and New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. Additional funding provided by the E. Ruth Buxton Stephenson Memorial Fund.
Photography copyright, Astrida Schaeffer.

Ffrost-Sawyer_history.pdf (75 kB)
Ffrost-Sawyer history


Women’s garments, Accessories worn, Head, Headgear, Hats, Bonnets (hats), 1880s, Dover, New Hampshire, United States, Brim, Crown (hat component), Velvet (fabric weave), Cotton (textile), Glazed cotton, Polished cotton, Buckram, Wire, Ribbon (material), Grosgrain, Deep purple (color), Pleat, Bows (costume accessories), Hand-sewn, Hamilton Ffrost (donor), Rollins Ffrost (donor), Ffrost (donor), Frost (donor)


item origin