Children’s Sun Clothing

“Sun Suits for Children.” The United States Department of Agriculture, 1928.

One interesting artifact from the Hoole archives is a pamphlet published from the Department of Agriculture in 1928 titled “Sun Suits for Children.” The 9-page handout was used by housewives to ensure their children were not only receiving the correct amount of sunlight for their health but that they were

also equipped with clothing to protect them from the harsh rays of the sun. The pamphlet recommends that children should receive enough sunlight to remain healthy; It was standard that a child should not be exposed to too much sunlight directly, rather the exposure should gradually increase “until a tan coat forms.” The pamphlet contains condensed subtitles such as: Loosely Woven Fabrics, Cool and Comfortable, Sunbonnets to Match, Fast but Gay Colors, Transparent Waist of Net, Overalls as Sun Suits, and Dainty and Practical. Within the text, the publisher mentions different kinds of fabric, patterns, and prints that mothers used to make their children comfortable sun wear which also protect them from piercing sun rays. Furthermore, the text also advises how the suit should be constructed for comfort and style.

The pamphlet demonstrates relevant medical methodology practiced in households during this time period. Although this does not pertain to my cultural background from the Philippines, the pamphlet provides a point of comparison. Societal differences and beliefs between the Philippines and the United States contrast because people in the Philippines would work from dawn to dusk regardless of weather conditions, while families in the United States were concerned about the amount of sunlight their children received. The pamphlet would be very useful for someone interested in researching middle-class family dynamics during this era since it contains recommendations, tips, and methods used by housewives.