In mid-nineteenth century America, women’s seminaries were established as a counterpoint to men’s colleges. However, while their male counterparts immediately adopted various iterations of academic gowns, these seminaries struggled to formalize their own academic attire. One element of it was a ‘collar’ made of fine mesh and, most unusually, sectioned into panels by lengths of boning. The ends would have been drawn around the back of the neck and fastened by a row of tiny, cumbersome hooks and eyes. As an academic accessory, such a collar has hitherto been unknown to the academic dress academe. Moreover, it offers a scholarly window into the distinctive challenges and changes that women’s academic dress underwent in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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New Prairie Press



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