Woman's Bonnet

Bonnets such as this, which had been adapted from stylish headwear of the early nineteenth century, were by mid-century identifiably Quaker. Subtle variations in color and form manifested doctrinal differences: the rigid pleating on this plain bonnet rather than soft gathers indicates the wearer's orthodoxy. Always worn over a fine lawn cap, the bonnet was often protected by an oilskin cover in wet weather while a quilted silk cover could add warmth in winter.

Artist/maker unknown, American, Quaker. Worn by Mrs. Benjamin Maule (Margaret Evans), American (Quaker).

Geography:
Made in United States, North and Central America

Date:
c. 1860

Medium:
Silk over wire, cardboard, and buckram

Dimensions:
11 x 6 5/8 x 7 1/2 inches (27.9 x 16.8 x 19.1 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
1969-239-22

Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Harris Cooperman and Mrs. Everett Mendelsohn, 1969

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Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    The Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers, advocated simplicity of speech, behavior, and dress. They avoided extremes of fashion, instead achieving dignity through the use of fine materials in subdued colors and skillful construction without superfluous ornament. Although Quaker clothing was neither uniform nor immune to changing fashions, certain features were retained long after they were outmoded and thus became badges of the group's separateness from the wider community. Thus bonnets such as this, which had been adapted from stylish headwear of the early nineteenth century, were by mid-century identifiably Quaker. To the initiated, subtle variations in color and form manifested doctrinal differences: the use of rigid pleating on this "plain" bonnet indicates the wearer's orthodoxy. Covered in fine silk, the bonnet's brim is edged with wire and stiffened with cardboard which also reinforces the buckram-lined pleats. Always worn over a fine lawn cap, the bonnet was often protected by an oilskin cover in wet weather, while a quilted silk cover would add warmth in winter. H. Kristina Haugland, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 93.