Scottish kilt outfits were fashionable special occasion wear for young boys in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. According to the Charleston Museum, which has a very similar child’s kilt: “Queen Victoria popularized this ‘fad’ by dressing her son, Albert Edward (1841-1910), the future King Edward VII, in Scottish kilt outfits. Young boys in England and America often wore this tartan clothing. This complete outfit also includes a traditional leather sporran (Scottish Gaelic for purse), covered with horsehair.
The kilt is documented in at least two studio photographs (in donors’ possession; see phtos below). One depicts a young Archie McGill, taken by the Henderson photograhpic studio in Kingston. Henry Henderson Sr. was advertising his Photographic Gallery by 1863; after his death, his son Henry Jr. and wife Margaret ran the business until 1911. Another later phtograph, by William L. Richardson, depicts either Archie at an older age or another sibling/relative (the sleeves of the jacket just slightly too short). Richardson started his business in the early 1890s and had a long career in the field, until around 1931. Portrait postcards – photographic portraits printed with postcard backs – became popular in hte early 20th century. As the outfit chosen for studio portraits, it speaks not only to current fashion, but also to pride in family heritage.
After serving in WWII, Archie McGill worked on the Canadian Forces Base in Kingston. He is buried at Cataraqui Cemetery and was the uncle of the donor Don Shillington.