Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


image preview


M.E. McQuade, 105 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts

Date Created



Women's costume accessories; Worn costume accessories; Headgear


Felt, velvet, feathers, ribbon, glazed cotton, wire


1880s. Blue felt capote (bonnet) with no brim and a wired edge. Blue velvet fabric encloses the entire bonnet edge in a tightly ruched or gathered band. Behind this, more of the same fabric is loosely gathered and arranged at the top of the head, with a vertical band of blue feathers framing each side of the face below it.

A blue grosgrain ribbon tied in a two-lobed bow is sewn to the center top, falling toward the face opening. A burgundy velvet ribbon is similarly tied and sewn behind it. Blue grosgrain ribbon is folded or pleated lengthwise and sewn across the bottom back of the bonnet, releasing to become the bonnet ties.

The bonnet is lined in black glazed or polished cotton, sewn to the velvet in front and finished in back with a hem forming a channel for a cotton ribbon, along which the lining is gathered to an opening that reveals the milliner’s label stamped in gold at the back panel of the bonnet. Professionally made. Hand-sewn.


Depth: 12.7 cm / 5 in. (depth of crown)
Height: 15.2 cm / 6 in. (height of crown)
Length: 53.3 cm / 21 in. (length of tie)


Gift of Margaret Hamilton Ffrost and Elizabeth Rollins Ffrost. Bonnet is stamped with “M.E. McQuade 105 Boylston St. Boston”. Likely worn by Martha Hale Low Ffrost (1842-1925), mother of the donors, in and around Dover, New Hampshire. Miss M.E. McQuade is listed as a milliner with premises on Winter Street in Bowdoin, Massachusetts in the 1879-1881 Boston Directory, and the more prestigious Boylston Street address indicates the bonnet was made later during the 1880s.

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, Boston, Massachusetts, Dover, New Hampshire, United States, Crown (hat component), Gather (textile process), Ruched, Bows (costume accessories), Felt (textile), Velvet (fabric weave), Cotton (textile), Glazed cotton, Polished cotton, Wire, Feather (material), Ribbon (material), Grosgrain, Blue (color), Burgundy, Black (color), Gold (color), Milliner, Label (identifying artifact), Hand-sewn, Hamilton Ffrost (donor), Rollins Ffrost (donor), Ffrost (donor), Frost (donor)


item origin