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The Sunbonnet: An American Icon in Texas
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The Sunbonnet: An American Icon in Texas (Paperback)

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From fashion to field, its twentieth-century story. Pervasive and fashionable throughout westward expansion in the United States, the sunbonnet endures as work dress in some regions and as icon just about everywhere - on quilts, dolls, and children's clothing. In 2003, Rebecca Matheson began to ask why. Unlike the scant previously published work, this first book-length study focuses on the twentieth century and why this particular working-dress accessory persisted long after it passed out of nineteenth-century fashion. Surveying its previous history, Matheson pursues what the sunbonnet reveals about twentieth-century American fashion, culture, and ideals, as well as class- and race-related issues. Detailing materials and methods of sunbonnet construction and care, she also addresses differences in sunbonnet design. Enlivening the study's fresh approach are oral histories and arresting primary source images, such as photographs by Dorothea Lange and sunbonnets from American collections private and public, including the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Texas Fashion Collection, and the Museum of Texas Tech University. Literary context - fiction and nonfiction - also enriches the text. A resource for historians and other scholars in dress, American and women's studies, and popular and material culture, ""The Sunbonnet"" should also enjoy wide appeal among collectors, reenactors, and anyone drawn to this American icon.

Rebecca Jumper Matheson has pursued her interest in fashion/dress/costume in environments ranging from museums to the performing arts. A former research assistant at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she was co-curator of the Museum at FIT exhibition Designing the It Girl: Lucile and Her Style and is the author of A House That Is Made of Hats: The Lilly Dache Building, 1937 1968 in The Places and Spaces of Fashion, 1800 2007 (2008)."

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