Dutch Jacket

Posted by muhammad nasrudin

Many, many thanks to KittyCalash for posting her latest article, Dutch Treat.  Back in May, I was looking into the caraco as a result of seeing it defended as accurate for Revolutionary War contexts on the basis of a single extant example in the Snowshill Collection.  I came to the conclusion that whatever the item was, it wasn't called a caraco, and that it didn't seem likely to be widely worn in America or Britain.

KittyCalash found two runaway notices mentioning Dutch women running away in "Dutch jackets".  (I really need to get one or two of the runaway notice books, or figure out some way to access American newspapers online without paying for a really expensive subscription.)  I can find other references to Dutch jackets that imply a couple of different garments:

- Several modern sources describe the 17th century coat often seen in Vermeer's works as a "Dutch jacket".  This probably isn't relevant at all.

Woman Holding a Balance, Johannes Vermeer, ca. 1664; National Gallery of Art 1942.9.97

- In a runaway notice from 1750, the Dutch jacket is sleeveless and worn by a Dutch man under a jacket as a waistcoat.

It seems quite possible to me that the "caraco" was called a Dutch jacket in America, and tended to be worn only or mainly by Dutch immigrants.  Perhaps there were specific male and female versions?  I'm not going to insist on the term in any academic context, probably, but in general this seems like a much better turn to use instead of caraco.

ETA: As Sharon Burnston pointed out on Kitty's post, though, it must be remembered that "Dutch" also meant "German" at the time.