What fabric was commonly called “Indian Head” in 1904?

In William Allen White’s book “In Our Town,” published in 1904 or 1905, he describes a midsized, prosperous Midwestern town as having the aristocratic ladies who wore linen as looking down on the majority who wore “Indian Head.”  Do you know what fabric, or composed of what, might have made up summer clothing, (little girls in a parade) as used rather than linen?  I am coming to your website because it is obvious that this was the manufacturer of whatever popular and generally used substitute he refers to.

Thank you for your research & response.


Very truly yours,

Marye Casill

By: Marye Casill

One Response to “What fabric was commonly called “Indian Head” in 1904?”

  1. Judith says:

    Hi Marye,
    Although your question seems simple, it is complicated. Originally Indian Head was a cotton muslin but over the years it evolved into a group of fabrics. Joan Kiplinger researched Indian Head extensively and wrote an article, “Indian Head Remembered” that you can read at http://info.fabrics.net/indian-head-remembered-revisiting-an-american-institution/

    To read more about Joan Kiplinger, our Vintage Fabric Expert, see “A Celebration of Joah Kiplinger, 1933 – 2009” at

    Hope this helps!