Massachusetts Volunteer Militia Cap

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Massachusetts Volunteer Militia Cap

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Title:  

Massachusetts Volunteer Militia Cap
Date:
circa 1845
Creator:
John B. Baker, Boston, Massachusetts

Content Description: 

Bell-crowned cap with black leather crown, brim and visor. Cap is made of leather, finished side in, and exterior is covered with blue broadcloth. Furniture consists of a brass ferrule at crown, a brass visor bill, 7/8" diameter gilt Staff-type buttons inscribed "Mass. Volunteer/Militia" and bearing the crest arm, clothed and ruffed, from the Massachusetts state seal. Similar buttons, 9/16" diameter secured the chinstrap. The cap plate is a full sunburst form, in stamped brass, characteristic of the post-1840 period. It is open at the center and applied to the base plate is a silvered wreath of olive leaves surrounding an inset of red leather. The silvered letters "R G" are mounted on the red leather field. Above the cap plate, at top center, a 2 3/4" high brass shield with applied silver plated crest arm, clothed and ruffed, from the state seal. This shield is integral with a plume socket inside the crown. Pendant from the side buttons is an elaborately braided white cotton cord, front and rear, and embellished with macrame-like tassels on the right. There is a black leather sweatband 2 3/4" wide with braided white cotton drawstring. The inside is unlined, showing natural finished leather save for the underside of the crown which is lined with white linen. A paper label, inscribed in ink, bears the name of a former owner, "C W. Goddard 23-", and at center, the printed label of the maker reads, "Saddlery/and/Military Cap Establishment./John B. Baker/Manufacturer of/Saddles/Bridles/Harnesses/Whips/Traveling Trunks/House/Valises/Carpet Bags/Hat Cases/Bonnet/Engine Hose/Fire Buckets/Military Caps/Knapsacks/Cartridge Boxes/Belts, &c. &c./No. 12 Court Street, Boston." Amateur repairs have been made to the leather chinstrap, only part of which survives. It is pieced out with a six inch length of black cotton twill tape. Clearly designed and made for an elite volunteer company, probably originating in a fairly sophisticated urban area. The clue to the provenance is in the as yet enigmatic initials "R G" which stand, evidently for R--- Guards.

Physical Description: 

Leather, brass, wool, cotton. H: brim to crown 7 7/8" (20 cm); Crown diameter: 9 1/2" (24.1 cm); Brim diameter: 7" (17.8 cm)

Location:
1 Old Sturbridge Village Road,Massachusetts,Sturbridge,01566
Identifier:
49.22.8
credits:
Collection of Old Sturbridge Village

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