Figure 1.--This elegantly attired little American boy would appear to have about 10 ringlets.

Ringlet Curls: Number

Boys varied greatly in the number of ringlets that their mothers styled. Sometimes thee were only two major ringlets. Often their were six or eight. Even mumbers were most common, but odd numbers were not unknown. Sometimes the boy had two ringlets laid on their shoulders and the rest of the hair uncurled.

Camera poses

Unfortunately the vast proportion of the photographic images of boys in ringlet curls are photographed from the front. It is thus not readily apparent as to how many ringlets the boy has. The mother is careful to lay at least two ringlets on the boys lace collar or shoulder of his jacket or dress. But this leaves open the question of how many ringlets are cascading down the boys' back.

Mirror shots

One ingenious mother conceived the idea of photographing her son with a beautiful set of ringlet curls in front of a mirror. This ebables us to see about how how many ringlets he had as well to see how his ringlet curls looked like at the front. This was a very rare pose, however, and few photographs were taken this way.

Figure 2.--This child appears to have a set of 8 ringlets. It is probably a girl, but is a good indication of the number of ringlets a child might have.

Back shots

Some mothers simply had a child with ringlets photographed from the back to show the number of ringlets. I think the child here might be a girl, but it does show the number, in this case about 8 ringlets. Few photographs were taken this way. Studio shots were expensive and it was rather an extranvagance to have a back photograph taken. Such a photograph by itself is not very appealing as you can't see the child's face. It is not exacly a pose one would send to Aunt Minnie or Cousin Ethel. No doubt it was lovingly save by mother along with a lock of the child's hair or even one of the ringlets.

Multiple angles

Another doting mother decided to have her child photographed at different angles so his hansome set of ringlets could be fully appreciated. Perhaps the best way of ensuring her child's ringlet curls were preserved for prosterity was for a mother to photograph her boy from different angles. One mother of a boy about 5 years old was photographed in a Faunleroy suit with an especially large lace collar. He not only had a full head of carefully trimmed ringlets, but a colored, probably red hair bow as well.

Figure 3.--This boy has a set of 6 or 7 ringlets, crowned by a hairbow which his mother lovingly added. Click on the image for a better look at the boy's hair style.

The Number

The most common number of ringlets worn by boys was from 6 to 8 ringlets. Some boys wore more or less, but 6 to 8 was the more common. The number affects the thickness of the curls. Arrangements with smaller numbers would have very thick ringlets and a larger number more slender ringlets.

There were also mixtures of straight and curled hair. Sometimes the boy had two ringlets laid on their shoulders and the rest of the hair uncurled.

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Created: April 24, 1999
Last edited: August 20, 1999