In older photos, students seemed to be even more formally attired, although perhaps missing a cohesive college look. It must be kept in mind that back then there were few casual photos or snap-shots, so people might appear dressier in photos than they often were, yet a natty or formal appearance was the norm. One of the old photos I brought to Taiwan features a group of student, yet even in the pictures mainly of buildings, the occasional students seen on the pathways all are as properly dressed as these here:
|A congenial group of Yale students, click to enlarge|
This photo depicts a group of Yale students from the class of 1870, so the photo is from that year or possibly the late 1860’s. They are surrounding the South Pump, located next to the Old Laboratory, the brick building in the photo. (There was also a North Pump, but I’ll save that for another day.) One can imagine these pumps were quite the campus gathering spots, especially in those post-Civil War days when there weren’t too many spots on campus to get a simple drink of water.
For those familiar with Yale’s Old Campus, this scene of pump and laboratory is roughly between McClellan and Vanderbilt halls, and the white house in back is about where Linsley-Chittenden is now.
While these students are individually well dressed, their clothes are not similar, and represent a variety of types and colors of suits. The hats are even more noticeable—I count three top hats, four derby-like hats, one cap and one possible straw hat.
Beside the sartorial element of this photo, I find the commercial aspect interesting, that the pump, very internal to the campus, is covered with advertisements, but no Yale-related announcements, unless you consider the seven banners for Coe’s Dyspepsia Cure a critical comment on the Yale Dining Hall of the period.
I’ll have to get hold of the Ivy Style catalog to see how they cover the early roots of their subject. Moreover, when I can find the time, I will use more old photos to divine the Precursors of Ivy Style.
Photo property of the author.