This is a picture of a late-18th-century frock coat made of “homespun.” This style of coat was common among men of both upper and lower social classes, although the material and quality of the coat varied.

When we think about the American Revolution, we often think of the Declaration of Independence or of famous battles. It is not immediately apparent what a utilitarian item such as an everyday coat can tell us about the past.

Clothing – colonial-made, homespun coats such as this one in particular – can actually reveal a great deal about the way colonists lived, the interplay of politics, economics, and everyday life, and the transition from British colonies to united American states. Keep this coat in mind as you examine the material culture, images, and documents that reveal more about Virginia during the Revolution and the early national period.

Source: “Homespun Coat,” still image, c. 1780, The American Revolution, accessed November 19, 2018.


Explore the following resources to learn more about the era and the coat. Click on an image thumbnail to load it in the main area.

After viewing all the resources, continue to the Rethink.

Revolution and New Nation
Resources - Revolution and New Nation
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