From the Archive: Little Lord Fauntleroy

by Lesley Drayton, Curator, Fort Collins Local History Archive

One of my favorite authors as a child was Frances Hodgson Burnett, who penned such children’s classics as The Secret Garden and A Little Princess. While she was entertaining the masses with her wonderful stories, however, she also had a surprising impact on fashion with her 1886 tale Little Lord Fauntleroy. Cedric, the story’s central character, wore elaborate velvet outfits with ruffled collars; this “Fauntleroy Suit” became a major fad for American middle-class children’s formal wear, lasting into the early 20th century.

Fort Collins boys were not exempt from this fashion trend. Check out these stylish lads:

Carleton Children, left to right: Guy S., Mary Loa, and Clyde Otis

Claude Covington

Conrey Children, left to right: Edith (standing), Arthur, Stephen, Frank, and Charles

Melissa and Ralph Giddings, Sr, from an oil painting owned by the Giddings family

I wonder how many of these suits can still be found in local attics?


4 Responses to “From the Archive: Little Lord Fauntleroy”

  1. 1 Doug September 13, 2010 at 9:30 am

    One cannot help but notice also that those were the days when photographers almost never said to their subjects “smile” or “say cheese.” Or maybe having to wear a gigantic bowtie made these little guys glum anyway.


  2. 2 Lesley September 14, 2010 at 9:54 am

    I agree, Doug. None of them seem too happy about it except for the two Carleton boys in the top image, and even their smiles seem a little uncertain!

  3. 3 Treloar Bower September 14, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    I noticed that the eldest boy in the Conrey photo wore a bow tie. Perhaps when they reached a certain age, the boys graduated from the big, floppy bows to more dignified bow ties? That must have been a great birthday! Wonder what their dads thought of this foppishness (is that a word?).

  4. 4 kbowell September 14, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    I suspect first you got to wear a dignified bow tie, and then you got to wear full length pants. Ah, the fashion milestones!

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