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Samuel Moon (1805-1860)
Brother Willie (William Henry Shouse), ca. 1850
Oil on canvas
Gift of Mrs. Maryanna D. Cooke - 1988.10

Young boys frequently wore dresses until they were five years old, when they were considered mature enough to be breeched, or to wear long trousers. Children's fashions copied those of women and included the neckline with its deep décolleté. In the nineteenth century women's costume was specifically proscribed for each individual activity. Thus a woman would have different outfits for walking in the city and walking in the country or by the seaside. Brother Willie's dress is decorated with a particular type of black wool braid embroidery, called soutache, which was also popular for women's seaside dresses.