1860 Man's Formal Tail Suit


Men's complete tailcoat formal wear in black wool. Tail coat is made of fine black wool with wide lapels with mock buttonholes, a natural waistline that lengthens into tails in the back, non functional vents on the ends of the sleeves with three covered buttons. Two covered buttons on each side of the center front of the coat. The back of the coat opens up into a vent below the waistline with small pleats on either side topped with a covered button on each. Inside double welt pocket on the left side of coat.

Full length trousers with long button fly, buttons along the waistband for suspenders and two front pockets that close with buttons at the corners. V in the back waistband with a belt below it for fitting the pants. Completely underlined in muslin with broadcloth (?) stiffening the hems of the legs. Waistband is lined in a red fabric, probably a blend of linen and silk. There seems to be a gusset in the crotch of the pants.

Black vest is made of the same black wool as the tailcoat. Low neckline with a narrow shawl collar and 4 single welt pockets, two on each side. Closes at the center front with three covered buttons. Back of vest is a twill fabric with a belt at the waist for fit. Lined in muslin. The number 36 is written inside each side of the front vest near the bottom facings as well as the number 122 written in the front right inside the vest. (Not sure the back of the vest is original to the garment, outside fabric may have been replaced, the lining is too long for it at the center back and the fabric for the back comes up over the shoulders and is stitched down over the collar. Also the underside of the collar is lined in a fabric similar to the back but it is a different weave and a different color.)

White brocade vest is double breasted and looks older than the rest of the suit. Neckline is not as low as the black vest and has a wider shawl collar. Closes at center front with small covered buttons in the same fabric as the vest. There are three single welt pockets, one breast and one on each side at the waist. Top stitching on the collar, pockets and edges are done in a gold color. Back is plain muslin with a belt at the waist for fit. Lined in same muslin and hand-stitched to front facings. Small triangular piecing at the shoulders.






This suit was worn by Levi Kauffman on the occasion of his marriage to Anna Harnish on March 7, 1861. Levi Kauffman was born in Lancaster Co., Penn., Sept. 5, 1833, and is the son of Christian and Anna (Erb) Kauffman, natives of the same county and State, where his great grandparents, who came from Germany, settled in 1717, and where Levi's grandfather, Christian, was also born. To Christian and Anna Kauffman were horn thirteen children - Emanuel, Jacob, Christian, John, Elizabeth, Mary, Levi, Benjamin, Reuben, Anna, Henry, Sarah, and Abraham, eleven of whom are living [as of 1881]. In 1840, Christian Kauffman and family came to Bethel Township, and settled in Section 35, where his sons now live, and where he died Dec.14, 1870, and his widow, Nov. 9, 1877, both being members of the Reformed Mennonite Church. Levi grew to manhood in Bethel Township, and was married March 7, 1861, to Anna Harnish, daughter of John and Esther Harnish, natives of Lancaster Co., Penn. Mrs. Kauffman was born in that county and State Oct.28, 1838. Levi and Anna had ten children.

Design Elements

Tail Coat

Fiber/Fabric Information

fiber content=Wool






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“1860 Man's Formal Tail Suit,” Fashion2Fiber, accessed July 3, 2020,

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