Massachusetts Volunteer Militia Cap



Return to Search Results | New Search

Add Tag | Comment | Rate | Share

Save Record to:

Massachusetts Volunteer Militia Cap

Advertisements for specific products, services or destinations on this website are for the information of the public, and do not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by this institution, its officers, employees or agents.


Massachusetts Volunteer Militia Cap
circa 1845
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)
1 Old Sturbridge Village Road,Massachusetts,Sturbridge,01566
Collection of Old Sturbridge Village