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 1870-1880  

History: The Reconstruction Era lasted from 1865 until 1877.  Many northerners and southerners capitalized on the situation in the South after the war.  “Robber Barons” such as Morgan, Rockefeller, and Vanderbuilt amassed great fortunes.  Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked the lantern that started the Chicago fire that killed over 300 people and burned more than three square miles of the city.  The Wild West was still being tamed.  George Custer’s men were defeated at the battle of Little Big Horn in June 1876.  America celebrated its 100th birthday.  Inventions that we now take for granted were introduced to the world – the telephone, typewriter, vacuum cleaner, the Corliss engine, the “Penny-Farthing” bicycle, phonograph, and electric light bulb.  Susan B. Anthony was arrested for illegal voting in 1782 and Victoria Woodhall was the first woman to run for the presidency – 48 years before women had the right to vote!  Fifteen percent of women worked outside the home as seamstresses and maids.  About 1,400 women were college graduates.

Fashion:  Bustle dresses came in at the end of the 1860’s and stayed until the end of the 1880’s.  In the early ‘70’s the bustle set high in the rear.  The jacket-like bodices were worn with large skirts that were ruched, and ruffled.  The second half of the decade brought “pencil slim” dresses. 

Hats:  Small hats and bonnets continued in style because of the large chignon hair styles. Hats tilted forward while bonnets titled back.  Both were elaborately decorated with artificial flowers, leaves, twigs, feathers, real birds, ribbons, lace, tulle, jet, and jewels.  “Flirtation ribbons” still trailed down the back during the first half of the decade.  Larger hats appeared during the last half of the decade as hairstyles became smaller and simpler.

*Tea time, was an important social event with family and friends.  During the Romantic Era, each flower, such as lilacs and violets, symbolized an emotion.

ca. 1870 (?)  (This particular hat is difficult to date.) Two-tone, straw top hat (possibly a riding hat) with original brown silk ribbon. 

The brim and crown are oval with a leather sweat band is sewn inside the crown rim. 

ca. 1875–1880 A finely-woven straw bonnet of unusual form somewhat reminiscent of a scallop shell. 

Fawn-colored felt ribbons are secured with cut steel ornaments at each indentation.  Silvered, white grape leaves adorn the crown along with sprays of flowers.  The front inner brim indicates that the hat is to be worn slightly tilted back.  The hairstyles, then current, dictated the positioning.  Long ties would have tied the bonnet securely under the chin.

The back of the hat, with the design interest, faces you.

ca. 1875–1882 This off-the-face straw bonnet has an interesting trim of ivy leaves and a beautiful bow and ties of chantilly lace. 

Another unique feature is that a maker’s name is on the inside: Jordan, Marsh and Co.  Boston