"LOST--On the 28th ult., between the Village and Antigonish Harbor, a heavy Grey Scotch Wool SHAWL. The finder will be suitably rewarded on leaving it at the CASKET office." [Casket, 16 August 1883]
"BETWEEN the I.C.R. Station and West Street, Antigonish, a parcel containing a lady's cape, gossamer and rubbers. Finder will please leave it at CASKET office." [Casket, 1898]
"The old women, in winter, wear enormous cloaks, made with a large square into which eight or ten breadths of material are closely plaited--this unwieldly garment completely enveloping them from head to foot." [Aurora, 2 September 1884]
Comments:At the turn of the century, short jackets and capes were popular during the winter months. Black was the preferred colour, but navy, gray, various browns, even red and dark green, were also popular choices. This dark brown lined cape is made predominently of velvet. It has decorative wool trim around the neck which is joined by a hook and eye at the throat. There is also an intricate curvilinear beaded design along the bottom edge of the cape. In the 1880s, the price of mantles and cloaks ranged from $4.00 to $7.00.
This cape belonged at one time to Christina MacGillivray . Evidence suggests that it was purchased in Boston where Christina and her mother resided for a short time. The cape was a gift to Christina's mother from her employer. There are patches on the cape where the velvet is worn and the lining has been repaired. Clearly, this winter cloak was a favourite of its owner.
Comments: This cape was originally owned by Annie MacPherson who received it as a Christmas gift from her father-in-law in 1900. The hip-length cape is made of heavy wool and no doubt proved effective in fending off the cold Antigonish winters. Although it lacks sleeves, the cape consists of two layers, with a tassled cowl-like top layer that can be wrapped closely around the neck like a scarf. The plaid fabric is colourful and no doubt appealed to the Scottish affinities of the owner.
The cape was an essential part of a woman's winter wardrobe. Furs were most desirable, but the typical cape was more often made of cloth and padded with wool or cotton batting. Thick wool capes were used when driving in carriages. In fact, a double or triple cape was specifically designed as a "driving cape". Later in the century, capes were used by women who played sports like golf, as such garments allowed for flexibility and movement.