A HAT IS A PIECE OF MAGIC
Karen Utter Jennings
Have you ever thought of a hat as a piece of magic? Margaret Sliter wrote, “A hat is a flag, a shield, a bit of armor, and the badge of femininity. A hat is the difference between wearing clothes and wearing a costume; it’s the difference between being dressed and being dressed up; it’s the difference between looking adequate and looking your best. A hat is to be stylish in, to glow under, to flirt beneath, to make all others seem jealous over, and to make all men feel masculine about. A piece of magic is a hat.”
Years ago, hats were used for protection from the weather or as a symbol of royalty and reverence. Hats also indicated social standing and professions.
A milliner designs, sews and sell hats. Historically, milliners were usually women. I found a few references to milliners in Pineville, Missouri from old newspapers that I read. The following was taken from the 1893 and 1895 books entitled A Unique Little History of McDonald County, Missouri written by James Reed.
For millinery, go to Mrs. J.S. Maxfield. She has the largest and best selected stock in Pineville, and bought them at the very lowest rates. She will likely give you a bargain that will surprise you, December 14, 1894.
Miss Mary Youngblood, who spent the holidays with her parents at Tiff City, returned to her position at Mrs. Caldwell’s millinery and dress making establishments, Tuesday, January, 1895.
And, June 1, 1895, A nice new awning is being erected in front of Mrs. Caldwell’s Millinery store. In August 1895, Mrs. Caldwell will go to Kansas City in a few days, where she will remain for a few days, learning the latest styles of millinery and trimmings. She will also select her fall and winter stock while there, which will be the largest and best ever brought to Pineville.
Hats have evolved from sturdy and sensible bonnets to gorgeous little pieces of art. With plumes, lace, ribbons, jewels, flowers and other décor, hats are compliments especially for women’s attire. Through the years, different types of hats were worn. From straw bonnets, turbans, boaters, cloches, pillbox, teardrop and fascinators, hats are beautiful and complete an outfit.
In my family, I found many of my ancestors wearing hats. Both women and men wore hats and still do today.
This is a photo of my great, great grandmother, Christina Hunt Utter in her hat.
This is my great grandmother, Ollie Francis Johnson Utter Brier with friends.
Flora M. Utter Bailey in her driving hat; there's a veil on it, you can barely see it in this old photo, it's not very good quality,
Ollie's sister-in-law with a team of horses.
Mame Utter Long and her husband, Ernest G. Long in their hats.
The Bronson sisters, Charlotte & Bessie; their sister, Sarah Ann married Milton Zimri Utter and moved from Indiana to SW MO in McDonald County.
Sam Utter wearing his straw hat. Sam was a great farmer in the Longview and Rocky Comfort, Missouri area; he had an apple orchard and sold lots of apples.
Jennie Mae Utter Stewart at the Utter family reunion located in Neosho, MO.
An unknown woman; the photo is from Ollie's collection that I inherited.
Ollie, my great grandmother.
Ollie with her niece Mae Utter Martin. Ollie's hat is setting beside Mae. Look at Ollie's hair, it's in the shape of the hat that she was wearing.....
Amy Walsh Modlin in her hat....
Brothers Ernest & Jim Long with their hats
Mame Utter Long in her cloche hat
William and Amy Walsh Modlin taken in 1917 ~ I love her hat!
Ollie and her third husband, Bill Brier in the 20s in Kansas
Ollie in her fur and her cloche hat
Utter reunion 1960s
and the funniest hat of all ~ Lydia Modlin Firzgerald ~ her hat is hilarious!
Ollie, my great-grandmother in her bonnet holding her son, my grandfather, Perry Gresham Utter.
Hats are a part of every family. I'm glad I have photos of an array of different hats.