** United States -- school headwear types hats rounded crown hats

Regular U.S. School Headwear: Hats -- Rounded Crown / Preacher Hats

Figure 1.--This is another cabinent card of a rural American school. It is undated, but we think was taken in the 1890s. Notice how many of the boys have rounded-crown hats. Notice that one boy has a larger hat that looks rather like a cowboy 10 gallon hat. That is something we rareky see even in Western schools. Notice that the boys are not wearing caps and that none of the boys are wearing overalls.

Caps appeared and were dominant in the early-19th century, probably because of the Napoleonic Wars. It was hats that dominated most of the 19th century, and the dominated style was what is often called the a preacher's hat--a rounded crown felt hat with a medium brim. No other headwear has so dominated American boys; wear and for so long a period. The only other headwear that was so dominant was the flat-cap (1910s-20s), but for a much shorter period. We see entire classes and small schools with the boys all wearing the same hat style--the classic rounded-crown hat. And with the advent of photography (1839) we are able to follow this in some details, especially with the appearance of the CDV (1860s). This was the standard headwear of American boys for most of the 19th century. It is thus what most boys wore to school which is amply demostrated in the photigraphic record. The school portait here is a good exanple (figure 1). We at first thought that straw hats would have been the most common hat, but the photographic record clearly shows that this was not the case. It was the felt rounded-crown hat that we see most commonly. And for the most part they look very well worn, suggesting tht th boys commonly wore them annd not just to school. We suspect that durability may have been a factor. Straw hats may have been more common in the summer when warm weather was common. What ever the case, we rarely see straw hats at school in the photographic record. We believe that these hats were especially common in rural areas.


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Created: 3:14 AM 7/28/2017
Last updated: 3:14 AM 7/28/2017