Graduation Caps

By Maureen A. Taylor

It’s the last week for hats. It’s also your last chance this month to save 10% on Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900. Use HAT10 as the coupon code when ordering from Family Tree Shop.

I’ve blogged about a lady in a fancy hat, a young man in a felt hat and two men wearing work hats. You’re probably wondering what’s next.

A graduation cap!

graduation caps.jpg

This image, from the collection of the Library of Congress, is from about 1860. I love the young man’s blue bow tie and red tassel. He’s smiling for the camera with a toothy grin. That’s something you don’t usually see in a 19th century picture.

Notice the stripe down his pant’s leg? He wears military style trousers. It’s possible he’s a cadet.

ehow credits the contemporary mortarboard to 15th-century France and Italy. The term “mortarboard” comes from its shape—it looks like a piece of equipment that a bricklayer uses for mortar. Today’s graduates wear tassels that reflect their school colors. Some students personalize their caps, too.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s worth of hats. I’ll be back with other caps, hats and bonnets this year.

Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album