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Bodkin-A bodkin is a tool that was used by women of the 17th and 18th centuries as part of their daily toilette. In the 17th century, most references to ladies’ bodkins indicate that they were tools that women used to dress their hair. They were not ordinary hair pins though, and as large blunt needle-like instruments, they could be used to hold hair in place with ribbons and cords. At some point in the 18th century, their main function shifted. While 17th-century bodkins for the hair were so large that they could not pass through most lacing holes in bodices and stays, by the 19th century, bodkins were smaller and used primarily for running drawstrings and laces. Image of a drawn bodkin: This drawing of a bodkin comes from Randall Holme’s Academie of Armory of 1688, which states that “The Bodkin is a thing useful for women to bind up their hair with and about.” Outlander takes place about 50 years later, when bodkins were still used to dress the hair, but it is possible that the hairdos that most needed bodkins had gone out of style. The 1740s might well represent a transitional period for bodkins when women started using them more for running tapes and drawstrings in clothing. Bodkin image from N.W. Alcock and Nancy Cox, 2000, Living and Working in Seventeenth Century England: Descriptions and Drawings from Randle Holme's Academy of Armory.  CD-Rom.  London: The British Library Board.; Photo of a bodkin marked with the initials "MI"- Bodkin, marked “MI”, Date: ca. 1680-1750, Site Name: Angelica Knoll, Site Number: 18CV60- Bodkins were used by women as part of their routine for getting dressed and having the hair done. They were tools that allowed women to tie their hair up and keep it in place in the days before the invention of the bobby pin.  Bodkins were therefore a personal item, and many of those found archaeologically have initials on them to indicate the owner. This rare double-ended bodkin comes from the Angelica Knoll site in Calvert County, Maryland, and it is made of solid silver. All of the other bodkins in the MAC Lab’s collections are copper alloy or silver plate, so this represents a very special example of a bodkin that was probably valued by its owner and mourned when it was lost. The initials “MI” are inscribed on one side of the bodkin (see detail), indicating that it likely belonged to a member of the Johns family who lived at the Angelica Knoll site from ca. 1680-1770. In the 18th century, the letter “J” was written like the capital “I” is today. The Johns family were active members of a Quaker community in the Calvert Cliffs region, and many meetings of the Society of Friends took place at or near Angelica Knoll. Later books in the Outlander  series depict Quaker characters and the differences in their culture and lifestyle, and it is possible that bodkins were part of that story. While at least four other sites in Maryland from the same time period have yielded a single bodkin each, the Angelica Knoll collection contains four bodkins, which is a very unusual concentration. It is possible that bodkins were somehow tied to the “plain” dress of Quaker women, especially if they continued to confine their hair under caps in a way that went out of style for most non-Quaker English women at the end of the 17th century. (close-up of bodkin showing initials "MI". Wenceslaus Hollar’s 1645 portrait  Young woman with hair bound with pearls (right) shows how 17th-century hairstyles incorporated cords or ribbons that coiled around the hair. Bodkins allowed women, or the ladies who dressed them, to essentially sew their hair in place with such cords and ties. Some women tied their hair up under a cap, and then tucked their bodkin into the cap like a decorative accessory. This kind of capped style, which is shown in Hollar’s 1636 etching Woman with a bodkin in her hair (left), may have persisted in Quaker homes more so than in other English colonial households after popular hairstyles of the 18th century shifted to emphasize height and volume instead of confinement in corded buns. Hollar images courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto.