School Uniform: Caps--United States

Figure 1.--This 1949 ad shows a mother sending her son off for his first day of school. He wears an peaked cap and Eton suit. Almost certainly dressed like thay he would have gone to a private school and not been able to walk to school. This drawing was an advertisement for a graduation present. Click on the image to see the original advertisement.

British-style peaked caps were commonly worn by America boys in the late 19th Century. At the time they were worn by boys from a wide range of social strata. As these peaked caps were worn in England for cricket, it is likely that they were the inspiration for the now ubiquitous baseball cap. Early baseball caps, for example, had very small peaks and looked just like school caps. After the turn of the Century boys continued to wear peaked caps. American school boys, with a few exceptions have never worn uniformed school caps. Some exclusive boys' schools used them as part of the uniform. A good example is Frank Bailey about 1915. Boys after World War I wore them more rarely. Boys by the 1930s were beginning to dress more casually for school. Some private schools continued to insist on more formal attire--including in some cases peaked hats which had acquired an upper-class look to it. An American boy going to a public (state) school would have more likely worn a baseball cap. Peaked caps continued to be worn by younger boys through the 1950s, especially when dressing up in a suit--often a short pants suit.


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Created: October 29, 1999
Last updated: 12:18 AM 9/23/2006