Canadian Boys' Clothes: Family Images in the 1900s

Figure 1.--This undated image is unfortunately not very clear. Its shows a large rural French Catholic family. The caption read, "Cette brave mère de famille tient son 16 ème enfant dans ses bras et sa santé n'est nullement ébranlée." (This brave family mother holds her 16th child in her arms and her health is not at all affected.) [ L'album universel, Vol. 22, no. 1108, pp. 325 (15 juillet 1905)]

We have begun to archive Canadian family images during the 1900s. There were of course big differences between urban and rural families. We have found some period images, do not yet have enough to form any real assessments at this time.

New Brunswick Family (about 1900)

This is a wonderful image of a Canadian family at the turn of the 20th century, although it is a tintype and thus not very clear. There is no accompanying information with the image. There are three adults, presumably mother and father. We are unsure who the third woman is, probably an aunt. The adults are all dressed up. I am not sure what the family social They are with two children, boys in indebntical white sailor suits with bouced knickers. They wear big tan-like sailor headwear which probably had tassles. They wear black long stockings with their white sailor suits. I'm unsure how old the boys are. I would guess about 5 and 8 years old. The boys almost surely are brothers. The family looks to be on some kind of outing.

Ontario Family (about 1900)

This photograph was taken about 1900 in Ontario and shows a family group outside a log cabin home. Unfortunately we have no details about the family other than than that they were from Ontario and what can be deduced from the photograph, The family is pictured right outside the home and some interesting detailks can be seen in the cabin construction. We are guessing that the portrait was taken by a intenerate photographer. Mother has carefully prepared the children for the portrait. The boys have carefully combed hair with a center part. They are wearing their best blouses. One boy has a polkadot blouse with a large collar. The other boy has a sailor blouse. One girl has a sailor dress and the older girl has a white dress. All the children are barefoot. The clothing to us looks to be identical from what one would expect from an American Mid-western farm family.

French Canadian Family (1905)

Families could still be quite large at the turn of the century. This was especially true for French Catholic families. We note families with more than 10 children and this was not all that unusuaal. One available image shows that sailor suits and dresses were quite popular for the younger children (figure 1). Older boys wore knicker suits. Unfortunately the image is not clear enough to make out clothing details. Notice how everyone has a hat. Of course sailor hats are most common for the younger children.


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Created: October 9, 2001
Last updated: 2:13 PM 1/17/2007