Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


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Date Created

c. 1850s-1860s


Women's costume accessories; Worn costume accessories; Headgear


Raffia, silk, wire, artificial flowers


c. 1850s-1860s. Brown and tan raffia spoon bonnet with a brim arching over the head. Raffia strips are woven into a four-ply braid 1.2 cm / 0.5 in. wide, made of two tan and two brown strands, with each tan strand given a twist at one edge of the braid before being reincorporated into the structure of it to create a textured quill-like surface. The completed raffia braids are overlapped and sewn together to shape the bonnet: six braids form the brim, three form the bottom edge of the bonnet, and the remainder are sewn in a spiral out from the center back of the crown to fill in the remainder of the surface.

Wire enclosed in pale green silk is sewn to the front edge of the brim to form a curved shape, continuing along the bottom edge where it is obscured by the lining. The lining is reused green and cream striped silk (stitch holes from original seams from another garment are still visible).

A small spray of artificial pale pink rosebuds and green leaves made of silk on a silk-wrapped wire stem, 35 cm / 12 in. long, is sewn across the top of the brim. No ribbons, ties, or bavolet covering the back of the neck remain. Hand-sewn.


Depth: 5 cm / 2 in. (depth of brim)
Height: 7.6 cm / 3 in. (height of crown)


Gift of Katherine Douglas Lansing Paine

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), Spoon bonnet, c. 1855, United States, Brim, Crown (hat component), Braided, Raffia (fiber), Plain weave silk, Wire, Artificial flowers, Beige (color), Brown (color), Pink (color), Green (color), Recycled, Reused, Hand-sewn, Lansing Paine (donor)