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The Gentleman's Page

Proper behavior and attire for the 19th Century American Man

ImageI am pleased to present the Gentleman's Page: a resource for those who wish to look and act like; or perhaps better understand, the 19th Century American man. It is intended to help costumers, theatrical performers, museum docents, reenactors and anyone with an interest in the life of 19th Century America.

"A true Gentleman is one who is never unintentionally rude." --Oscar Wilde

"Colonel Grangerford was a gentleman you see. He was a gentleman all over...His hands was long and thin, and every day of his life he put on a clean shirt and a full suit from head to foot made out of linen so white it hurt your eyes to look at it; and on Sunday he wore a blue tail-coat and brass buttons on it...There weren't no frivolishness about him, not a bit, and he weren't never loud" --Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain

I have focused on the period from the Civil War (1860) to the turn of the Century, as it represents a period of considerable stability in mens' fashions and is the period in which there is the greatest interest out here in the West.

This site contains original photographs from my collection, photographs of surviving clothing, explanations of what to wear when, and excerpts from 19th Century books of etiquette. The Website is arranged as follows:

The "Behavior" section addresses issues such as how to act in public, how to deal with others, and generally, how to comport yourself as a gentleman. Then, to leven that somewhat, I have included some unflattering descriptions of American male behavior.

The "Attire" section focuses on the details of historically correct men's wear. It is illustrated with photographs from the author's collection and photos of the details of some original garments.


Designed and maintained by Walter Nelson.


Publishing Information
  • Author: Walter Nelson
  • Published by Walter Nelson
  • Date of first publication: February 2001
  • Date of most recent update: 16 June 2016