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.
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 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
time, was an important social event with family and friends. During the
Romantic Era, each flower, such as lilacs and violets, symbolized an
ca. 1875–1880 A
finely-woven straw bonnet of unusual form somewhat reminiscent of a scallop
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.