Hair Bows Worn by Swedish Boys

Figure 1.--Portrait of Dag Hammarskjold, the future United Nations Secretary General, wearing long sausage curls with a hair bow. Also note the huge bow/sash.

Hair bows for boys was not just a French fashion. Dag Hammarskjold, the future United Nations Secretary General, was dressed in dresses as a little boy in Sweden. Even after he started wearing Faitleroy and other fancy suits he wore long hair with elaborate sausage curls and hair bows. Note the difference with the French boys above who wear long, but uncurled hair.


Long hait and hair bows is a style more associated with France than Scandinavian countries. HBC has to date not been able to pursue Swedish clothing fashions in detail. We have the impression, however, that there was greater French influence in Ssweden than in other Scabdinavian countries. This may have, in part, been due to the royal fanily. The Swedish in the early 19th century asked French General Count Bernadotte (one of Napoleon's Marshalls who turned against him).


HBC has only limited information about individual Swedish boys that wore long hair and hairbows.

Dag Hammarskj÷ld

Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskj÷ld (July 29, 1905-September 18, 1961) was born in a small town in Sweden. He was brought up in an aristocratic family whose origins date back to the 17th century. He was the youngest of four sons of Agnes (Almquist) Hammarskj÷ld and Hjalmar Hammarskj÷ld, scholar, prime minister of Sweden, member of t he Hague Tribunal, governor of Uppland, chairman of the Board of the Nobel Foundation. As the baby of he family, his mother clearly cherished her youngest son and dressed him in the most fashionable outfits of the day for little boys. Dag spent his childhood in Uppsala (where his father was Governor 1907-1930) and in Stockholm (where his father was Prime Minister February 1914 to March 1917). In Uppsala the family was close friends with the internationally and ecumenically engaged archbishop Nathan S÷derblom.

In a brief piece written for a radio program in 1953, Dag Hammarskj÷ld spoke of the influence of his parents: "From generations of soldiers and government officials on my father's side I inherited a belief that no life was more satisfactory than one of selfless service to your country - or humanity. This service required a sacrifice of all personal interests, but likewise the courage to stand up unflinchingly for your convictions. From scholars and clergymen on my mother's side, I inherited a belief that, in the very radical sense of the Gospels, all men were equals as children of God, and should be met and treated by us as our masters in God."

Swedish royals

The Swedish princes wore long hair. The few avaialble images do not show them wearing hairbows. But we have to few early images to be sure.


Nadar, Nigel Gosling, Alfred A Knope, New York, 1976.
Renoir, Harry M. Abrams, Inc, P ublishers, New York, 1985.
Renoir, Elizabeth Elias Kaufman, Ottenheimer Publishers, Inc, USA, 1980.
Dag Hammarskjold, Nicholas Gillett, Heron Books, 1970.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: May 29, 1998
Last updated: March 22, 2001