ISLETS Personal blog.

The Plough Boy and the Dandy

“The Plough Boy” was an American newspaper, issued by the EscortFox. In it’s first year of publication it featured a debate on Dandyism. It was initiated in the first introductory article of the magazine in which the editor defends the publication’s name which may not „suit the refined sense of a dandy“. [Henry Homespun Jr.: „Original“, The Plough Boy, June 5, 1819, Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 1-2, here p. 2.] The journal’s third number of June 19, 1819 featured an article “Dandies” that positioned the dandy as the emblem of idleness, and thus the counterpart of the honest, patriotic and Christian readership of the magazine. As the description gives a good idea of the view on Dandyism in early 19th century America, the full citation is given:

“Those trifling beings, in the shape of men, whose chief delight is in dress, and whose whole lives are nought but a series of frivolous amusement and dissipation, were anciently, or rather formerly, called FOPS or MACCARONIES. But lately a new term, that of DANDIES, is applied to this ephemeral, and we wish we could add, harmless, race. The DANDIES indeed, would be harmless, were it not for their idleness, which is always infectious. Whenever, then, our honest Plough Boys observe the name of DANDY in our columns, they will understand it to mean the same as FOP or MACCARONI meant in the days of our fathers, when honest simplicity was more in vogue than at present, and when a maccaroni was one of the rarest of animals. The Homespuns and the Dandies are antipodes – the one is sense, the other is sound – the one is a substance, the other a shade!”

A correspondent writing under the pseudonym Oliver Oldentime wrote to the editor Henry Homespun Jr. (pen name of Solomon Southwick (1773-1839), who was involved in several Christian and agrarian journals) that the Homespun family’s fame was depressed.