Allison-Antrim Museum 

                                     Greencastle, PA

Hats 1800-1830
Hats 1830-1840
Hats 1840-1850
Hats 1850-1860
Hats 1860-1870
Hats 1870-1880
Hats 1880-1890




Vintage Hats 1860-1870  

History:  The Civil War was fought between April 12, 1861 and April 9, 1865.  Railroads advertised land for sale in ladies’ magazines such as Godey’s and people headed West. By 1869 anyone could travel from one coast to the other by railroad.  Immigrants flooded America’s shores after the Civil War looking for freedom, a better life, and their fortune.

Fashion: At the height of its popularity, the hoop skirt reached a maximum width of six feet!  As the decade moved along, the skirt became more elliptical in shape, flatter in the front, and with more fullness in the back. Pagoda sleeves evolved into Bishop sleeves with a small cuff.  The dropped shoulder armcize and round waist remained. The discovery of Aniline dyes produced bright colors such as magenta, electric blue, and emerald green.  Dress makers could produce more pieces at cheaper costs because of the increasing popularity of the sewing machine.

Hats: Bonnets took on an oval shape with an open upraised mid point in the center front, lavishly decorated on the inside.  These bonnets were called “spoon bonnets” because of their resemblance to the spoon.  The hairstyle of larger and higher placed chignons, dictated the changing style of hats – forward tilting pillbox and porkpie hats.  Wide-brimmed straw hats called rounds or flats were still fashionable summer wear and were secured with long hat pins.


ca. 1860’s This round straw hat with its trailing ribbon streamers was considered very beguiling for younger women in the 1860’s. 

The cobalt blue color was much in use in the 1850’s – 1860’s.  Shoes were even covered in cobalt blue.

ca. 1860–1865 A brown silk taffeta “spoon” bonnet, so named because of its resemblance to that eating utensil. 

It was the shape worn during the civil War era.  This one retains its original floral and lace trims but has had the strings replaced.


ca. 1860–1870 Grey felt toque hat with original plumes to the side and ribbon over the front, crown, and back. 

This type of hat was one of the more youthful forms being introduced in the 1860’s while the more formal bonnet was still being worn.


ca. 1860–1870 Black horsehair hat decorated with chantilly lace and rose buds.  It also has what is called “follow me boys” streamers at back! As the name indicates, this hat was considered a youthful style.

ca. 1865–1870 A very delicate, intricately woven hat. 

The crown has straw baubles, glass beading at the side, and gathered beige crepe on the forward half.  The front has a spray of tiny purple flowers, and ‘feather’ leaves.  The ties would have gone under the chin

ca. 1865 A child’s blue felt hat with rolled brim – very similar to a derby. 

The one feature that feminizes the hat is the surprisingly pink ostrich plume.  The colors are faded and would have been very vivid at the time the hat was new in the 1860’s.  The small box is original to the hat.