HBC History

Figure 1.--

Well HBC has evolved over some time. We began as a very small site on a free Tripod site. You can still see Chris' name on many older HBC pages. The site as evolved greatly over time. Actually our readrs have played a major role in directing the growth of our site. We have created a short page on HBC's history for interested readers. Our web site has evolved out of a number of different streams coming together.

Chris Wagner

HBC was created by Chris Wagner who is now deceased. Chris was especially interested in 19th century clothing like sailor suits and Fauntleroy suits and created his site to show case some of the old photographs that he had collected. From the beginning his idea was not only to show off his collection, but to invite readers to share their insights on the fashions. This idea to use HBC as a kind of forum to expand our knowledge of the subjects discussed continues to be a central focus of HBC today. This attracted several of us to HBC which is why HBC has continued even without Chris.

Web Hosting

Chris and those of us who joined him had no real knowledge of the internet and web construction. HBC began as a free Tripod site. Chris soon found that this was impractical because there were limitations on the size of the site which Chris soon outgrew. We at first tried to link together a number of free sites, but this proved to be very awlward. In addition, one of the free sites we used added banners which were not only annoying, but also inappropriate. Also we had no idea if these sites were adding addwear which would infect readers' computers. Finally we decided to pay for hosting. We have tried different hosts before arriving at the current one. Given the size of HBC and the extensive usage, we have had to ask readers to make a small contribution so that we can bring our site to the reader. Here we think that most serious readers would prefer this rather than being bombarded with banners and pop-ups.

Fashion, History, and Childhood

Chris began HBC as a kind of mixed old-time photography and fashion site. Those of us who have joined HBC and brought a wide range of interests that have changed HBC over time. Some contributors have a primarily fashion focus while others have more of a history orientation. This has kind of come together with a central theme of childhood. I taught school for a few years and one of the subjects I taught was history. I noticed at this time that students seem especially interested to know what life was like for people their age in the different periods we discussed. I began to notice that this was a subject that it is often glossed over or more commonly ignored in many history books. But of course children were always there. Often in fact they were the people most affected and not uncommonly played a major role. Here there are countless example. The Civil war, for example, was fought primarily by youths and young men. Children were of course greatly affected by slavery. We note that some people are shocked that the NAZIs included children in the Holocaust, but of course the NAZIs especially targeted children.

Historical Significance

We have come to see fashion trends as developments of possible historical significance. Some observers have commented that hem lines on women's fashions tend to follow economic cycles. We have noted a range of fashion trends in children's clothes that reflect a range of larger social and historical trends. The very concept of childhood is a realitively new one. We note that the first purose made children's clothes was the skeleton suit which appeared as the modern concept of childhood began to become widely accepted. The kilt fashion for boys was tied up with the British monarchy's attemp to increase its popularity in Scotland. At the same time the sailor suit fashion for boys was tied up with the British monarchy's attempt to associate itself with the most popular institutin in Britain. The populaity of Fauntelroy style in America was in part a reflection of the newly rich industrial class' desire to show off their affluence. Here we are not at all sure about the significan of various styles and fashion trends. Thus we are collecting and archiving information and hope to over time develop a better understanding of the historical trends involved. Here we see the various photographs, catalog pages, and other imges as historical artifacts.

International Coverage

HBC began as a primarily American site. One of the especially interesting aspects of HBC's growth has been the level of participation of foreign (non-American) readers. Here most of the interest has come from Europe. We believe this is because of both language and interest usage. The participation of our foreign readers has made a major contribution to HBC and helped to provide insights that many of the early contributors to HBC with our American focus could not provide.


Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web Site:
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Countries] [Photography] [Style Index]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Satellite sites] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web chronological pages:
[Return to the Main chronological page]
[The 1900s] [The 1910s] [The 1920s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1950s] [The 1960s] [The 1970s] [The 1980s] [The 1990s] [The 2000s]

Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web style pages:
[Blazers] [Jackets] [Long pants suits] [Kilts] [Sailor suits] [Knickers] [Eton suits]
[Fauntleroy suits] [Hair styles] [Youth groups]

Created: 9:26 PM 9/28/2005
Last updated: 9:26 PM 9/28/2005