The year is 1917. My family has gathered for a formal portrait. Photography, despite the popularity of the Kodak Brownie, is largely a professional enterprise, particularly for something like this.
In attendance are my great-great-grandparents, their three sons (one of whom is my great-grandfather), their daughter-in-law (my great-grandmother) and their two grandsons (my grandfather and great-uncle, respectively).
Each wears his Sunday best. Not yet old enough for long pants, my grandfather sports a Norfolk jacket and a pair of knee breeches. His younger brother wears a sailor’s outfit. As is common practice at the time, no smiles dawn across their faces. Forbearance and rectitude are the virtues of the day.
Every inch of cloth that covers their bodies was almost assuredly made within the borders of the United States. It was a time when much of what we wore was produced locally, often in the home itself by a family matriarch in front of a Singer sewing machine.