Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


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Date Created

c. 1830s-1840s


Women's costume accessories; Worn costume accessories; Headgear


c. 1830s-1840s. Poke bonnet made of cream and ivory silk jacquard, woven in a hatch-marked zig-zag pattern, sewn to a buckram frame with a wire reinforcing the front edge and the base of the crown. It has a wide brim with rounded front corners, projecting past and fully obscuring the wearer’s face, and a high crown. Although fashionably cut, the bonnet is likely homemade based on its fairly crude workmanship.

The fabric of the brim is basted with fairly large stitches to a ribbed cream and pink silk lining along the brim edge, encasing the wire. Both fabrics are left unfinished and fraying inside the bonnet at the seam with the crown. The top of the crown at the back of the head is covered in a piece of the cream and ivory jacquard, loosely pleated in diagonal accordion pleats and basted to the buckram beneath. A rectangle of the cream and ivory jacquard has both long edges folded under and is wrapped around the crown, overlapping at the center top of the head where one of the short ends is folded under and basted in place with very large stitches. This rectangle covers the raw edges of the pleated crown section but is not sewn in place; it is however basted firmly to the join of the brim to the bonnet. The crown is unlined.

Another length of the fabric forms a bavolet, or flounce, designed to protect the wearer’s neck, and is attached to the bottom of the crown in back and wraps forward where it is sewn to the bottom edge of the brim. The bavolet is unlined but its raw hem is enclosed by an unevenly folded bias strip of the main fabric (likely 2.54 cm / 1 in. wide) which is wrapped over the bavolet edge and encloses its own raw edges. It also covers the raw edges of a bias cut strip of burgundy velvet fabric, folded in half, showing variably from roughly 0.3 cm / 0.125 in. to 0.6 cm / 0.25 in. above the folded silk.

A (8.3 cm / 3.25 in.) wide salmon silk damask ribbon woven with cream floral vines and edged with picots forms a hatband, encircling the base of the crown and covering the seam joining the brim to the crown as well as the raw upper edge of the bavolet. It is tied into a permanent two-lobed bow with fringed streamers at the upper left side of the crown. The same ribbon is sewn to the brim lining and hangs down to tie the bonnet in place when worn. Hand-sewn.


Depth: 15.6 cm / 6.125 in. (depth of brim)
Height: 9.2 cm / 3.625 in. (height of crown)
Length: 8.3 cm / 3.25 in. (length of bavolet)
Length: 42 cm and 47 cm / 16.5 in. and 18.5 in. (length of tie)


Gift of Fred Ordway

Museum Number



University of New Hampshire Library


Silk, buckram, wire, velvet


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), Poke bonnet, 1830s, 1840s, United States, Brim, Crown (hat component), Bavolet, Curtain, Flounce, Apron, Bow (costume accessories), Hatband, Jacquard, Damask, Silk (textile), Velvet, Buckram, Wire, Ribbon (material), Picot, Ivory (color), Cream (color), Salmon (color), Pink (color), Purple (color), Bias, Basted, Pleats, Accordion pleats, Homemade, Hand-sewn, Ordway (donor)


item origin