American Boys' Specific Hair Styles: Top Curl--Prevalence

Figure 1.--This cabinet card portrait is indated, but looks to have been taken in the 1880s. Mother seems to have been a very fahionable lady. The children look to be about 1-6 years old. The oldet child is obviously a boy. the midle child ea re not sure about, but the outfit looks to be a kilt suit which would nean that the child is a boy. Both boys have top meolls and ringlets. We are not sure what is on top the the baby's head. The studio was er: Fontaine in Lowell, Massachusetts.

The top curls are a style we had not noted until we began to address hair styling for HBC. Since then we have noticed numerous examples in the photographic record. It is much more prevalent than we first thought. We do not see it in painting during the early-19th century. We do see examples as photograph was invented and reached America (1840s). We see examples in both Dags Ambros. And when the albumen process (CDVs and cabinet cards) became popular we see many more examples. We see quite a number of younger American boys with top curls in the 19th century and even very early 20th century. While we have found many examples, they were a relatively small number both boys and girls invoved. Even a mall propotion of the children with ringlets. The number of boys with ringlets increased substanially during the Fauntleroy Craze (1885-1905). Some boys and girls had both ringlets and top curls, but often with the top curls there was not enough hair for noth, at least long ringlets. We cvoninue to see these top curls in the Fauntleroy era, but unlike ringlets we do not see any greatly increased prevalence of top curls.


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Created: 7:04 PM 7/2/2019
Last edited: 7:04 PM 7/2/2019