The Winter Clothing of Puritan Women, circa 1643
It’s getting chilly in Cambridge. Autumn is here and the long winter is almost upon us. As is often the case when the weather turns cold, I wonder how the first Cambridge citizens braved the freezing temperatures and gusts of wind with their limited comforts and resources. I came across a wonderful book, written by Elizabeth McClellan in 1904, titled Historic Dress in America, 1607 – 1800, with an entire chapter on fashion in Puritan Massachusetts.
Can you picture the streets of Cambridge filled with women covering their faces for protection against the cold? Perhaps men also wore a face covering, although McClellan doesn’t mention it in her book. This image of the Puritan woman in winter dress certainly challenged my imagination when it comes to early street scenes of Cambridge’s first inhabitants.
McClellan’s book is available for research in the Cambridge Room.