Sailor Caps: Tallies

Figure 1.--This American boy has a very basic cap tally which reads U.S. Navy rather than the name of a specific ship. I'm not sure when the portrait was taken, but would guess the realy 20th century, perhaps the 1910s.

Cap tallies are essentially ribbons which decorated the caps worn by enlisted sailors. I'm not sure about the origin of the word or when sailors first began weraring these tallies. Each ship by the late 19th century had it's own tallie which sported the name of the sailor's unit proudly on the front of his cap. The tallies were black with gold wire or yellow silk lettering. The tally ends were tied into a bow and worn above the left ear. To wear a ship's cap tallie provided great pride for a sailor. Often a sailor would save his old tallies as a record of the different ships on which he served. They were also lovingly saved bu mothers and wives. Some were mounted and proudly displayed in the home. Cap tallies are today a popular collectors item among military uniform enthusiasts. We have notice these tallies on all the countries where sailor capa were worn, including America, England, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia.


Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main sailor cap page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Essay]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Created: March 8, 2004
Last updated: 4:42 AM 10/27/2008