Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


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Costume; Clothing; Main garments; Main garments for the upper body; Vests


Silk velvet, cotton


1840-1860. Man’s vest of black silk velvet woven with copper and navy-blue dots.

The vest is made with four pieces: two front panels of silk velvet, and two back panels of gray cotton twill with a center-back seam. At the hem the front is cut straight across at the waist, and in back the panels curve up toward the center to a 1.3 cm / 0.5 in. high peak at the seam. The vest is double-breasted with an 8.3 cm / 3.25 in. overlap and front openings measuring 19.1 cm / 7.5 in. high. There are three white and gold glass buttons and three buttonholes at the opening of both right and left front panels, with only one column of buttons visible when worn.

The vest has a deep V in front measuring 48.3 cm / 19 in. from the shoulder seam to the top of the front opening, finished with a shawl collar 6.4 cm / 2.5 in. at widest. There are two pockets on the left side and one on the right, and one interior pocket on the right. The vest can be adjusted with a belt sewn in at the side seams in back. The front is lined with natural polished cotton, with padding between the velvet and the lining at the chest. The back is lined with gray cotton twill of a different shade than the exterior of the panel.


Chest: 105.4 cm / 41.5 in.
Hem: 101.6 cm / 40 in.
Side seam: 22.9 cm / 9 in.
Back length: 43.2 cm / 17 in.


Gift of Mary Pepperrell Ffrost Sawyer. Worn by the donor’s father-in-law, Charles Henry Sawyer (1840-1909).

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


Men's vests, Waistcoats, 1840-1860, Dover, New Hampshire, United States, Double-breasted, Silk velvet, Black (color), Dots, Copper (color), Navy blue (color), Cotton twill, Gray (color), Polished cotton, Glazed cotton, Glass buttons, White (color), Gold (color), Belt, Ffrost Sawyer (donor), Ffrost (donor), Frost (donor)


item origin