Wedns Aug 27th This morning filled the vases with flowers and worked
some about the house and about nine went to Mr
Lothrops with Mrs S Ames to put on the shrouds
Got home about twelve. Went to the funeral
and to the cemetery He is the second one that
has been laid there. Mrs Fullerton and Abb[y] Torrey
called this evening & Malvina with her bloomer
hat that I gave her
“[A] fair, cool day,” Old Oliver noted in his journal. “Clinton Lothrop buried.” Brother of Sarah Lothrop Ames, a young husband, father, and farmer, Clinton had died of typhus fever. Evelina helped Sarah, Clinton’s only sister, place a shroud on the corpse. In the afternoon, with her husband and family, Evelina attended the funeral service, which would have been at the Lothrop home, and the burial. Clinton was buried in the new cemetery.
Despite the somber events of the day, Evelina managed to brighten her home with flowers from her garden. In the evening, her nieces Abby and Malvina Torrey made a call with their relative, Mrs. Fullerton. Malvina wore a “bloomer hat” that Evelina had given her.
The bloomer costume – seen above in the Currier print – was a fashion phenomenon in 1851. Originally developed by readers of a health publication called The Water-Cure Journal, “Turkish pants” were touted as a healthful alternative to the heavy-skirted dresses and constrictive bodices that women typically wore. They became known as “bloomers” when Amelia Bloomer of Seneca Falls, New York, told the readership of her temperance periodical, The Lily, that she had adopted the style to wear. She published instructions for making the outfit, and the curious style became a craze.
Although the bloomer costume was admired at first as being healthful, it soon became politicized as women’s reform became prominent in the headlines. To many, the free-flowing bloomers became symbolic of the suffrage movement. Publications that initially praised bloomers recanted as the outfit became more controversial. The fashion held its own through the decade, however, but disappeared after the Civil War, only to revive in the 1890s.
Evelina, sewing maven that she was, had been following the fashion news, but hadn’t opted to make a bloomer costume for herself. With a nod to the trend, however, she acquired a bloomer hat, probably like the one in the Currier print, to give to her ten-year old niece, Malvina.
*Nathaniel Currier, The Bloomer Costume, 1851