U.S. Children's Marching Band Costumes

Figure 1.--Here we see a children's band from Missouri dating from 1923. Unfortuntely we do not know the name of the band. There is writing on the pohotograph, but it is very difficult to read. It may read Suttin or Sutton School. The date is more clear, June 1, 1923. At the right I think it says Mapplewood, Mo. The outfits are all white, except for some of the shoes. The chidren wear both white kneesocks and white long stockings. The girl in the middle is wearing some type of saddle shoes which rather stand out.

We do not know yet to what extent boys were involved in the civic bands of the 19th century and early 20th century. Many appear to be composed of both adults and youths. Some appear to have been all boy bands. They do appear to have been entirely or almost entirely male bands. We are unsure about early high school marching bands, they may have primarily been made up of boys rather than girls. The high school marching bands may in fact have changed the band tradition. Gradually girls began participating in the high school bands. We know very little about this process. I'm not sure when this began to change, presumably in the 1920s with the increasing importance og highschool marching bands. We do note some children's bands with boys and girls in the 1920s, but they were not very common. Much more common were all boy bands. The image here is the earliest American image we have archived with girls (figure 1).


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Created: December 11, 2002
Last updated: 6:03 PM 5/14/2005