Early 20th century
Plus Fours are a type of men's pants that became popular in America in the early 20th century. Unlike knickerbockers, which ended at the knee, plus fours extend four inches below the knee, hence the name. They were especially popular for playing golf because their bagginess and extra length allowed for greater mobility.
In the Victorian era, middle class Americans began to have more leisure time as a result of the Industrial Revolution. Two “crazes” became popular as well: exercising and nature. Golf fit in with both of them and became very popular in the United States. Golf was seen as a “moral and healthful exercise.” Women were even encouraged to play. In the September 1897 issue of Godey’s Lady’s Magazine, a very popular publication, it was stated that golfing was not only good exercise but there also would be “unlimited opportunity for flirtation and picturesque poses.”
Cape May had its own nine-hole golf course which was incorporated on July 29, 1898. One of the charter members was Dr. Emlen Physick, who also served as the club’s first Vice President. According to an article in the June 17, 1899 edition of the Cape May Wave, there was a Golf Tournament in which 22 players participated. Dr. Physick finished the tournament in 16th place. He was 20 strokes off the lead. Women were allowed to play at the Cape May Golf Club and even Dr. Physick’s mother, Mrs. Ralston, was an associate member.
Look for the Plus Fours on the bed in Dr. Physick’s Bedroom.