American Boys Center Hair Parts: The 19th Century


Figure 1.--This unidentified little American boy in a cabinet card portrait wears a flouncy lace collar. We can't see much more of what he is wearing. It looks like it may be a dress. He has short hair with a center part. The portrait is undated, but the mount style suggests the 1890s to us. He looks to be about 3 years old. The center part was primarily irls' style, but by he end of the centurt=y we see boys with center parts, at firt younger boys like the one here. Evenully teenagers behin adopting these center parts. The stydio was B. F.? Devinney in Moberly, Missouri.

Center hair parts were the basic hair part convention for girls throughout the 19th century. This is useful in establishing gender in old photographs when younger boys and girls were dressed alike. This was not an absolute conention, but it was very common in the 19th century, and perhaps the best single gender indicator. We do not have much informtion on the early-19th century. We know much more about the second half of the 19t-century because of the development of photography. Unlike Europe, we have quite an extensive archive beginning almost immediately after the development of photography in France. A rare exception was younger boys with hair done in ringlet curls. The center part helped to divide the hair with which to form ringlets. Older boys with center parts were much less common, at least until the end of the decade. This seems to have changed at the end of the century. We see some boys with shirt hair parted in the middle. We note younger boys with fashionable center parts at the end of the century in the 1890s. And we have found some older boys with these center parts, but not very many. Virtually all of the 19th century examples We have found date to the 1890s. We are still working out the age trends in the 1890s when we se most of the center-part boy portraits. We have not yet, however, found many actualy dated examples. So far the examples we have found are portraits for which we have had to roughly estimate estimate the date. Nor are we sure about year trends within the decade.

The 1800s

Center hair parts were the basic hair part convention for girls throughout the 19th century. This is useful in establishing gender in old photographs when younger boys and girls were dressed alike. This was not an absolute conention, but it was very common in the 19th century, and perhaps the best single gender indicator. We do not have much informtion on the early-19th century.

The 1840

We know much more about the second half of the 19th-century, actually beginning in the 1840s, because of the development of photography. We beginnto see Daguerreotyps in the early-1840s. Unlike Europe, we have quite an extensive archive beginning almost immediately after the development of photography in France.

The 1880s

There was aajor change with center partsin the 1880s. A rare exception to the girl center part convention was the younger boys with hair done in ringlet curls. This became particularly popular in the 1880s as part of the Faauntleroy craze. This became very common in the mid-80s as part of the Fauntlroy craze. The center part helped to divide the hair with which to form ringlets. This is not reaily apparent because Fauntleroy curls were often done with front bangs. So you can't see the hair on the crown is done with a center part. There were also Faintleroy ringlets done with center prt coing all the way to the forehead. We see very few school age boys, however, with regular hair who have center parts.

The 1890s

Older boys with center hair parts were much less common, at least until the 1890s This seems to have changed at the end of the century. We see some boys with short hair parted in the middle. We note younger boys with fashionable center parts at the end of the century in the 1890s. And we have found some older boys with these center parts, but not very many. Virtually all of the 19th century examples we have found date to the 1890s. We are still working out the age trends in the 1890s when we see most of the center-part boy portraits. We have not yet, however, found many actualy dated examples. So far the examples we have found are portraits for which we have had to roughly estimate estimate the date. Nor are we sure about year trends within the decade. Most of the portraits we have fond with cebter parts are pre-teen boys. We think teenagers by the end of the decade may have begun wearing center parts, but we have not yet been able to confirm this. The center parts by the turn-of the century had become seen as very stylish. Amd while ar first just seen with little boys we see even older teens with these center parts by the turn-of-the century.








HBC






Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main U.S. boys center hair part page]
[Return to the Main U.S. center hair part page]
[Return to the Main U.S. hair part page]
[Return to the Main U.S. hair page]
[Return to the Main hair style page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Girls] [Essays] [Literary]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] ] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]




Created: 6:26 AM 7/24/2013
Last updated: 8:39 PM 1/30/2016