Museum logo

Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Object Name Shirt
Date ca. 1760-1780
Description Man's knee-length shirt. White linen, handsewn with very fine stitching throughout. Front has slit opening at center. Standing collar has two buttonholes and one remaining thread-covered button. Side seams are butt-sewn, with side slits near hem that show selvedges. Fabric is gathered into collar and into gussets at base of collar on each side to give added fullness. Shoulders are dropped, and an applied strip of self fabric extends from collar to sleeve across each shoulder. Long, full sleeves are gathered at shoulders and at wristbands. Each sleeve has a single lengthwise seam and a triangular gusset under the arm. Each wristband has two buttonholes. Small brown embroidered initials "I . S" are cross-stitched near side slit at wearer's right.
(Keywords: Fashion, Early American, Colonial, Underwear)
Acquisition Gift of Florence Packer
Ownership and History According to Miss Florence Packer, who donated this shirt to the Staten Island Historical Society in 1960, the embroidered initials "I S" could represent Jacob Schenck, an ancestor of the donor and member of the Dutch Reformed Church of Neshanic, New Jersey.

Shirts of this length were often the only undergarment worn by men, with the shirttails pulled between the legs to act as a protective layer beneath breeches. However, drawers (underpants) are known to have been available during the 1700s, and the owner of a shirt as finely made as this one was likely to have worn drawers as well.

Earliest Date 1760
Latest Date 1780
Subjects Clothing & dress
Lexicon Sub-category Clothing -- Outerwear
Catalog Number C01.2971
Support Acknowledgment Online Collections Database record made possible by The Coby Foundation, 2009.
Legal Status Images and text in this database are copyrighted by the Staten Island Historical Society unless otherwise noted. Items represented here are from the collections of the Staten Island Historical Society. Materials reproduced for personal non-commercial use must credit the Staten Island Historical Society. Commercial licensing is available.