1860-1869 Man's Frock Suit


Black dense wool frock coat and trousers, hand sewn. Double-breasted to waist, single notched collar. Three working buttonholes left and right sides, Two top buttonholes on left and right lapels fake. Dark green wool piping on coat front opening and along lapels and collars--probably originally black or covered, now faded. Two rows of four silk satin covered buttons--circle withing a circle design. Outer circle of satin matches coat lining, inner circle figured black weave. Shoulder seams towards back and back princess seams end at coat waist, decorated with a button (same as front). Skirt of back has back vent flat and folds at princess seam that partially hide a pocket in both sides of the skirt with a pocket flap decorated with a piped edge and another covered button at bottom. Pockets in skirt are brown right twill faced with black silk left twill. Coat lined in dark green silk satin with quilted padding underarms. Lining probably discolored over time was originally black. Inside left chest bound pocket of brown polished cotton faced with silk. Hem of coat is unfinished.

Two-piece sleeves set in and have working 1-button vent closure at wrist with decorative top-stitching and rounded piped edge and hem. (button smaller version of circle in circle design but with plain satin covering metal) Sleeves lined in off-white cotton twill with a different twill closer to wrist.

Black wool twill trousers with six gold metal buttons for suspenders, four front, two center back, on waistband that tapers from center front to center back. Buttons imprinted with E. Spencer Pittsburgh. Three-button fly front and keyhole buttonholes, with additional button at waist seam with corresponding slit in waistband/pant seam and inner extension with buttonhole that matches up with button in inner left front. Shaped and buttoned continental pockets--buttons of black glass on metal shanks; pockets of off-white cotton twill. Watch pocket in right waistband between suspender buttons also of white cotton twill. Trousers back has black metal pronged buckle attached to tabs directly under V-shaped center back waist.Trousers underlined around waist with off-white linen or polished cotton that also faces right button extension and fly. Crotch of trousers reinforced with off-white cotton. Hems stitched to 4" wide off-white sturdy linen or hair canvas and finished with narrow cotton band. Trousers creased probably due to cleaning by donor after centennial wearings in 20th century.


HCT.1987.319.3ab & HCT.1987.318.5




This suit belonged to Joseph Robbins who lived from 1824-1912. He was born on a farm in Robbins Station, Pennsylvania and continued work as a farmer throughout his life. He also opened an extensive coal mine at Osceola on the Youghiogheny river in 1848. This suit was worn to President Grant's Inauguration in Washington D.C. in 1869.

Fiber/Fabric Information

fiber content=Wool






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“1860-1869 Man's Frock Suit,” Fashion2Fiber, accessed May 28, 2018,

Item Relations

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