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Object Name Cape
Date 1840s
Description Man's cape made of navy blue wool with black and red velvet trim, red velvet facing and brown wool lining. The cape has a round neckline with a black velvet collar, a long braid attached at the back of the collar with a tassel at each end, and hook and eye front closure.
(Keywords: Fashion, Slavery, Abolitionism)
Acquisition Gift of Mrs. Otis Kidwell Burger and Dr. Allyn Kidwell
Ownership and History This cape was reportedly worn by noted abolitionist Sydney Howard Gay (1814-1888) during anti-slavery speaking tours of southern states. In 1842, Gay became a lecturer for the American Anti-Slavery Society. In 1844 he was made editor of the official publication of the New York abolitionists, the National Anti-Slavery Standard. He later wrote for the New York Tribune and served as its managing editor during the Civil War. In later years he also served as managing editor of the Chicago Tribune and the New York Evening Post.

Sydney Howard Gay became a resident of Livingston, Staten Island in 1848 and lived there for the rest of his life. He was a key figure in underground railroad activity in New York, and his "Record of Fugitves" survives in the library of Columbia University.
Earliest Date 1840
Latest Date 1850
Subjects Clothing & dress
Abolition movement
Lexicon Sub-category Clothing -- Outerwear
Associated People Gay, Sydney Howard
Catalog Number 86.022.0001
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.