Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


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Date Created

c. 1860s


Women's costume accessories; Worn costume accessories; Headgear


Silk, buckram, wire, cane


c. 1860s. Black plain weave silk on a buckram and wire frame, possibly for mourning. The brim comes to a rounded peak at center front and curves away from the face at the sides before coming to sharp points framing the cheeks.

The bonnet is made of four separate pieces of fabric. The first encloses the brim with a deep band of silk pleated into place inside the bonnet deep enough to become the brim’s lining, and wrapping up and around the edge of the brim to become the outside decoration. This is drawn over a section of cane at the base of the brim forming a section of shirred ruffles with the raw edge of the fabric tucked beneath. The next section of fabric emerges from beneath the first and is drawn onto three additional canes passing around the top of the crown, two spaced close together and the third at a small distance, and this ends with a ruffle as well. The back of the bonnet is covered with loosely pleated fabric. The bottom edge is finished with a band of fabric drawn into ruffles by a single cane with two additional caned channels edging the bottom of the bonnet, where the remaining fabric wraps around to the interior. The bonnet is lined in brown net and curlicues of structural wire can be seen through it.

Black plain weave silk ribbons decorate the bottom edge of the face opening. Black silk satin double-sided ribbons are sewn to the exterior in bows that release into ties. Hand-sewn.


Depth: 7.6 cm / 3 in. (depth of brim)
Height: 10.2 cm / 4 in. (height of crown)
Length: 48.3 cm / 19 in. (length of tie)


Gift of Fred Ordway

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.


Women’s garments, Accessories worn, Head, Headgear, Hats, Bonnets (hats), Mourning bonnet, Mourning, 1850s, 1860s, United States, Brim, Crown (hat component), Bow (costume accessories), Silk (textile), China silk, Plain weave silk, Buckram, Wire, Cane (plant material), Ribbon (material), Black (color), Hand-sewn, Ordway (donor)


item origin