1832 Boy's Suit Bodice 953.2016.76
Today's Museum Monday lucky number is 953~ a precious little boys bodice of drab green silk taffeta trimmed in black silk braid & buttons. It was worn in 1832 by Joseph Davis Mackelduff when he was just 2 years old.
As a rule, I dont keep bodice's that are not accompanied by their skirts/trousers....but there is always the exception. Boy's clothing is very rare, and to have anything with provenance more so again~ so I was happy to add this piece to the collection. One may expect that a bodice like this would have button holes round the waist to button on to either a pair of high waisted trousers or skirt, but there is no evidence of such. It was made as a true separate, but certainly would have had, and been worn over a matching long skirt or pair of trousers. Due to Joseph's young age, I would say he wore it over a skirt, especially since there is a front tab falling below the waist~ white baby gowns in the early to mid 19th c used this tab to differentiate between a girl or boy who wore it~ tab below the waist for boys, no tab for girls.
Joseph was born April 9th, 1830 to James & Jean Mackleduff at Brandywine Manor House in Honey Brook Pa~ you can read a little about the history of his important Pennsylvania family & their home here
I can just see him sitting out on the steps in this little suit!
Center back closes with hammered hooks & eyes~ buttons are for show and nonfunctional. A pretty little peplum in the back helps to balance the large expanse of the sleeves.
Excessive, or elaborate use of buttons was a common way a family could announce their wealth in the 19th century~ they were an expensive commodity in their day.