Figure 1.--American boys commonly wore long stockings in the late 19th and early 20th century. The began declining in popularity during the 1930s and were rarely seen after the early 40s.
Information is available of course in autobiographies and articles written about childhood experiences. We would appreciate it if readers coming accross pertinent references would pass them on to the Webmaster. Some readers have provided their own personal experiences. Most of the information HBC has noted, logically enough come from northern states. HBC has also noted reports accross the border in Canada.
Here we have an account of Peggy and Tony who were 10 and 12 years old. Their parents insisted that they wear long stockings which as they got older they didn't like at all. As soon as they left home they would detach them from the waist and roll them down.
An American reader reports, "In the late 1940s and early 50s, little boys were still wearing long brown stockings. I know from experience. Hand-me downs were prevalent in my family due to economics. There are also `baby' pictures in the family album that show both my brother and I in long white stockings, about late-1946 or early-47."
One reader remembers, "when I was about 7 years old and we lived in Northern Minnesota, that on several very cold days my mother made me wear long brown stocking fastened with garters pinned to my underwear to school. I hated it, because I thought only girls' wore long stocking."
Another reader reports, "I was born in upstate New York (a cold place) in 1928. I remember wearing long black or brown cotton or wool stockings with short pants until the age of 6 or 7 years during the cold winter months. Many boys did so until they switched to knickers. The stockings were each held up by a single garter in front suspended from a crude garterbelt made by my mother. The stockings were never long enough and were not covered by the shorts so that the garters were plainly visible. It could also be cold. I remember protesting to my mother that the stockings should be longer but to no avail. I resented this because my sisters' stockings were all much longer and moreover fastened with four garters which were completely concealed because their stockings were so long. I suppose my mother reasoned that my sisters would be in stockings their whole life and should do it right from the beginning. But it didn't matter for me. In any event, I was very happy to graduate to knickers and turn the stockings over to my little brother for a repeat performance.
Pennsylvanaia was another northeastern state where long stockings were commonly worn. A good example of the conventions involvd are two Pittsburg brothers in 1906.
A HBC reader has provided some details on his experiences in the late 1930s and early 40s. We are not yet sure as to the specific state.
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