Fitting Outfits

EVEN THOUGH China Inland Mission workers normally wore Chinese dress, for some occasions, they still had to have a Western wardrobe—not to mention a number of other nineteenth-century necessities. Below is a list of items two missionaries from the mid-1860s checked off as they prepared for work in China.

For Miss Jean Notman, 1864

  • 1 winter dress, 2 skirts, 1 crinoline [stiff petticoat], 3 print dresses 

  • 3 petticoats, 6 nightdresses, 3 vests, 12 pair drawers, 9 chemises, silk apron 

  • 2 doz. handkerchiefs, 9 pair stockings, 1 ps. diaper, 1 pair gauntlets, 4 pairs gloves, hat, hairnet, scarf 

  • 2 pair boots, 1 pair shoes, galoshes, umbrella 

  • 2 combs, hairpins, slide, toothbrush, pomatum, sponge bag, nailbrush, scissors, elastic, sewing—machine needles and oil, bodkins, cotton thread trimmings, crochet hook and cotton, darning cotton, darning merino [fine wool], belt ribbon, ribbons, tapes, buttons, pins, hooks, thimble 

  • 6 1/2 yards black merino, 10 yards muslin, 1 1/2 yards check muslin, 6 3/4 yards longcloth, linen, braid, 1 doz. cambric frilling [cotton ruffles], 9 1/2 yards barege [sheer fabric], 26 3/4 yards flannel, 5 yards red flannel, 6 yards huckaback [toweling], 15 3/4 yards lining, 3 yards ruching [trim] 

  • Writing desk, pen holders, pens, nibs, quills, cards, 200 envelopes, elastic bands, 1 doz. pencils, slate, slate pencil, India rubber trunk, tin-lined box, carpet bags. 

(Presumably she already had cutlery, crockery, among other things not listed)

For George Crombie, 1865

  • Frock coat, doe trousers, waistcoat, tweed trousers, coat, vest, 3 linen coats and vests, 2 pairs drill trousers4 flannel shirts, 4 calico shirts, 6 1/2 doz. collars 

  • Waterproof coat, felt hat, cloth cap 

  • 3 pairs boots, 2 pairs braces, 1 doz. pairs socks, pants 

  • 1 feather pillow, 1 counterpane [bedspread], 1 pair blankets, 3 pairs linen sheets, 4 pillowcases 

  • 1 rug, mosquito curtains, lining for same, 1 Toralium [trade name for coverlet], 1/2 doz. towels, 1 bag haberdashery 

  • Iron chair, bedstead and beds (?mattresses), 1 looking glass, walking-stick, camp stool, life-belt, 8-day alarm clock, fishing tackle, string, penknife, strop, medicines, scales

  • Writing paper, notebooks, 500 envelopes, 3 doz. pencils, 1 doz. penholders, 1 gross pens, India rubber, 1 qt. ink, writing case 

  • Coffee mill and pot, teaspoons, dessert spoons and forks, tablespoons and forks, dessert and table knives, all 3 each, groceries, shoe blacking 

  • Carpet bag, packing case, cooking stove, pipes and utensils, carpenter’s tools. 
By the Editors

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #52 in 1996]

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