Popular Music
(of mid-nineteenth-century America)


One way to look at Women's History is through the songs that portray women. Not only do they show women in different ways, they show how men viewed them, since most of these songs were written by men. Sometimes we found the text to be particularly instructive; sometimes the cover art of the songs was very interesting.

Compare these songs and fashions to those of today! How do they differ? Are there any similarities?

Songs with Romantic Portrayals of Women


Songs that Comment on Fashions of Men and Women

  • Jockey Hat and Feather (text and cover)
  • The Grecian Bend (text and cover)
  • Dressed in a Dolly Varden (text only)
  • The Roman Fall (text only)
  • Father Will Settle the Bill (text and cover)
  • Sheet Music Covers that Depict the Bloomer Costumes

    The next few songs show wonderful art of the new Outfits of the Bloomer Girls, women who wore pants under their dresses as they raised the hemlines of their skirts. These were named in honor for Amelia Bloomer, who helped popularize the fashion.

  • Bloomer Schottische (cover only)
  • Bloomer Quick Step (cover only)
  • Bloomer Polka (cover only)
  • Bloomer's Complaint (text and cover)

    This last song , for which we couldn't find the text, seems to have the last word:

    We'll Show You When We Come to Vote!
    Howard, F.
    Chicago 1869