School Clothes: Individual U.S. Schools--Grafton School: 1903

Figure 1.--This group from Grafton, Massachussetsd may have been associated with the Grafyon school. HBC is bot sure just what group this was. Note the boy in the back wearuing a sailor suit.

One available photograph from the school in 1903 is composed mostly of girls, but there are a few younger boys. It may not have been a class group. It is marked a Christmas portrait, but HBC thinks this id highly unlikely as an outdoor portrait without coats woud have been a very chilly experience in Massachusetts. It looks to HBC more like a late spring portrait. The boys wear quite a variety of outfirs including two sailor suits.

The Class

I'm not sure what class this was or in fact if it was a class group. The children all appear to be younger bnoys and girls, probably 1st and second graders. Some of the girls mat have been third graders. This would mean children 6-8 years of age.


This portrait was marked a Christmas portrait, but HBC thinks this id highly unlikely as an outdoor portrait without coats woud have been a very chilly experience in Massachusetts. It looks to HBC more like a late spring portrait.

Helpful Information

Readers may find other HBC sections of interest in evaluating the fashions that the boys were wearing in 1912.

1900s chronology page

Major changes in clothing were underway as the new century arrived. The first decade of this century saw the important introduction of the sack suit, a style characterized by any shapeless coat without a waist seam, the body and skirt having been cut in one piece, and the Ivy League-style clothing from England. It was also during this period that certain other fashion innovations began to appear, such as the polo coat (introduced from England by Brooks Brothers around 1910) and the button-down collar (also introduced by John Brooks, in 1900, after he had discovered it being worn by polo players in England in order to prevent flapping during matches).

Figure 2.--The boys in the back row wear a small bow and a necktie. The other boys have simply buttoned their collar. I had thought the boy in the lower right hand corner was wearing a blouse with a ruffled collar, but this elargement looks like a plain collar.

U.S. 1900s chronology page

The turn of the century was an interesting period in the development of boys' clothing. It wasa time of both contiuity and change for boys' fashions. It was a period of many varied styles. Late 19th century styles continued after the turn of the century. A few important new syles such as tunics and rompers appeared in the 1900s. Many older styles continued popular, but by the end of the decade, their popularity was beginning to wane. Important 19th Century fashions such as kiltsuits and Fauntleroy suits continued to be worn. At the same time, 20th Century styles like short pants emerged. The existing 19th Century stle of knickers became increasingly popular. Long ringlet curls were still fashionable at the turn of the century, but by the end of the decade were much less common.

U.S. 1900s catalogs

Mail order catalogs show major changes in American boys clothes during the 1900s. Several important fashion trends are notable. Tunic suits were all the rage for little boys. Kneepants were still dominate in the 1900s, but knickers began to be worn by older boys. Short pants were intoduced for the Boy Scouts, but the boys insisted on wearingknickers. Kneesocks were still little worn. Most boys wore longstockings.

Boys' Garments

I'm not sure just what this group was. But from the samll number of boys invoved, one might think it was a poetry reading group. The boys wear a wide range of outfits. Teo boys wear sailor suits, the other outfits are more varied.


Many of these chilrdren would have worn caps or hats to school, but they are not shown in the photograph.

Figure 3.--Notice the boy wearing a sailor suit and two boys wearing bows. One of the bows is untied.


None of the boys wear suits.

Sailor suit

Two of the boys wear sailor suits. Sailor suits were still very popular in the 1900s. One boy is obvious. You have to look very carefully to find the second boy. One boy has what looks like a white suit, with trim intwo colors. I'm not sure what colrs these were, probably red and blue. Notice the girl wearing the stripped sailor dress.


None of the boys wear neck ties. It is difficult to tel much about them. Only one is a blouse with a wide Peter Pan collar. It is difficult to make much out about the other shirts the boiys are wearing.


One boy wears a necktie, but this was not yet the dominate neckwear. Notice the boy beside him wearing a bow. Another boy has buttoned his collar.


The group picture is rather dark. Two of the three boys in front wear dark pants. It is difficult to tell much about them, but they appear to be wearing kneepants with long stockings. The boy in the sailor suit more clearly can be seen wearing kneepants and black long stockings.


All of the boys in the front wear long stockings. They are all dark, probably black. The girls appear to be wearing the same dark long stockings.


The photograph is not sufficently detailed to determine what kind of shoes the boys are wearing.

Hair styles

All of the boys have short hair. Two boys apopear to have shaved heads. The girls in contrast have very long, in some cases curled hair.

Girl's Clothes

The photograph is not real clear. One girl wears a stripped sailor dress. Several girls wear hairbows, but they are much smaller than the huge bows worn in the 1910s. Many of the girls wear pinafores, although it is unclear how manu have pinafore or white dresses. All of the dresses appear to ahve very tight neck fittings. There are some colored dresses, but most are white. They all have long sleeves, like the boys' shirts.


The boys in this class portrait do not appear to have dressed up much for this group portrait. Two boys wear bows. One boy wear a very smart sailor suit. A second boy wears sailor suit, but you can't make out any details. One boy wears a dark outfit, but it is not possible to make out any details of the outfit.

Christopher Wagner

Related Chronolgy Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[Main Chronology Page]
[The 1900s] [The 1910s] [The 1920s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1950s] [The 1960s] [The 1970s] [The 1980s] [The 1990s] [The 2000s]

Navigate the Relate Boys Historical Clothing Style Pages
[Main country page]
[Long pants suits] [Short pants suits] [Lederhosen] [Kneesocks] [Eton suits]
[Jacket and trousers] [Blazer [School sandals]

Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing School Uniform Pages
[Main Grafton Page]
[Main U.S. School Uniform Page]
[Australia] [England] [France] [Germany]
[Ireland] [Italy] [Japan] [New Zealand] [Poland] [Singapore] [Scotland]

Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Page
[Introduction] [Activities] [Bibliographies] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Contributions] [Countries]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Created: June 3, 2001
Last updated: June 3, 2001