Early jockey-caps: worn by a (female) chimpanzee, in 1739; and (human) females, in 1723

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Fri Nov 4 21:07:27 UTC 2011

In OED2, the earliest quotation for "jockey-cap" is 1748.

 From "An Essay towards the Character of the late Chimpanzee, Who
died Feb. 23, 1738-9" (London: Printed for L. Gilliver and J. Clarke,
1739), page 15:

"She thought Linnen on her Head would not suit her Complexion (which
was rather dark) and therefore judg'd the most proper Covering to be
a little black Jockey Cap."

This is pretty early for "jockey cap".  In GBooks, the only earlier
are an instance of "jockey's cap" in 1737 and 4 instances of "jockey
caps" in 1738.  But I will confess that in Aug. 2010 I sent Jesse a
quotation from 1723 of women wearing jockey-caps, although since it
was from a manuscript letter it may be difficult to find:

"Last weeke Mrs. Aslibie gave a plate to be run for by women, and
nine of that sex mounted there steeds, rid astride, were dress'd in
drawers, wascots, and jocky capps, there shapes transparent, and a
vast concourse of people to see them."


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