Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Sun, March 24

Letter: Ancestor's clothes reveal faith, status


The photograph of Leslie Womack's great grandmother Marie (Dutch spelling) with the Oct. 18 Courier article "Hidden in History" piqued my interest.

I don't know if Ms. Womack knows anything about her ancestor's clothing. I lived in the Netherlands in Zeeland province for 13 years and was always interested in the ceremonial provincial dress called "klederdrachten." In the photograph, Marie Hoogerwert-van Duivendijk is dressed in her best Sunday traditional "dracht." In my estimation, she was from the Zuid-Beveland peninsula in the province of Zeeland.

The hand-made oval-shaped lace bonnet, the gold ornaments ("stikken") and pins on the bonnet show that she was of the Protestant faith. Catholics fold their bonnets more squarely and the gold "stikken" are larger. (I always called them antennas). On weekdays, the hair was covered by a lace cap ("mutse") only. All women used a hair roll to fold their bangs over and pinned them under the mutse.

Marie was not poor, according to the accessories she wore, and her smock ("hemdrok") and jacket look to be of the very expensive kind. Her 7-strand bloodcoral necklace would have a solid gold clasp in the back (now worth at least $5,000). The more strands in the necklace, the richer the owner. Also, the stikken and pins are solid gold and now sell on the antique jewelry market for thousands of dollars.

It's a pity that hardly anyone wears the dracht regularly any more, but organizations in the Netherlands still keep up the old traditions and on special occasions have a klederdrachten jamboree, representing all 13 provinces.

Patricia Tiber

Prescott Valley


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