Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


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

Date Created



Women's costume accessories; Worn costume accessories; Headgear


Felt, silk, velvet, ribbon, jet, glazed cotton, wire


1880s. Gray felt capote (bonnet) with no brim and a fully wired edge.

Burgundy velvet lines the inside of the bonnet at the opening and bottom edge and is sewn along the face opening to a band of the same fabric which is manipulated into loose vertical folds at the sides which then form deep gathers across the top of the head. The crown is covered with a cream silk net with jet beads at the interstices. Burgundy grosgrain ribbon is tied into multi-lobed bows and sewn down at the top of the head behind the velvet gathers. More of the same ribbon is pleated or folded along its length and sewn to the bottom of the bonnet, releasing into the ties at the bottom corners.

Most of the crown is lined in black polished cotton, sewn to the velvet lining 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: 14 cm / 5.5 in. (depth of crown)
Height: 12.7 cm / 5 in. (height of crown)
Length: 55.9 cm / 22 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 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 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 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), Capote (bonnet), 1880s, Boston, Massachusetts, Dover, New Hampshire, United States, Crown (hat component), Gathers (textile process), Bows (costume accessories), Felt (textile), Velvet (fabric weave), Cotton (textile), Glazed cotton, Silk (textile) Wire, Jet (material), Ribbon (material), Gray (color), Burgundy, Black (color), Gold (color), Milliner, Label (identifying artifact), Hand-sewn, Hamilton Ffrost (donor), Rollins Ffrost (donor), Ffrost (donor), Frost (donor)


item origin