In the early 19th century women wore bonnets such as this one to shade their faces from the sun. The one pictured here is a "leghorn" bonnet and it would have had ribbons on it to tie under the wearer's chin. This bonnet is probably made of rye straw. Women in New England could work at home braiding rye straw for hats as part of the "putting out system". This was at a time when it was not proper for a married woman to have a job outside of the home.