half-plate Daguerreotype of Charlotte Frost Godfrey, ca. 1851
Charlotte Frost wearing a white sheer daycap with long untied embellished straps (wide sheer lappets embroidered in whitework), with hair parted in the center and puffed out over the ears, covering them, wearing a dark dress with a low V-neck exposing the embellished chemisette which is closed at the throat by a brooch, and a wide flat lace collar. Preserver: Straight, narrow, embossed with simple pattern (after 1850). Mat: Oval with matte finish and simple embossed design (1850). Case: Leather covered wood frame embossed with a geometric design both front and back, with an exterior and interior gilded edge trim, a red velvet pinchpad and a red velvet cushion embossed with a floral and scrollwork design (ca. 1850).
In the 1850s the daycap was not for streetwear, rather just for invalids and elderly women at home. Godey’s fashion sketches show caps of fine lawn with puffed crowns and wide sheer lappets falling at either side of the face, edged in lace or embroidered in whitework, and hanging free. Bonnets are wide and roundly open, curling under the chin, and set far back on the head by 1853, underbrims plentifully decorated.