March 2, 2007

Another digital treasure – Women Working (Harvard University Library)

Filed under: Hat book and magazine reviews,Millinery trivia and events — Cristina de Prada @ 11:54 pm

Copyright of Harvard University LibraryI just love the amount of information that is out there if you are lucky to find it.

The latest treasure I have found is the “Women Working, 1800-1930” open collection from the Harvard University Library.

Here is the description, from the website:

Women Working, 1800 – 1930, focuses on women’s role in the United States economy and provides access to digitized historical, manuscript, and image resources selected from Harvard University’s library and museum collections. The collection features approximately 500,000 digitized pages and images including:

  • 7,500 pages of manuscripts
  • 3,500 books and pamphlets
  • 1,200 photographs

Of course I had to search for Millinery, and I found out that they have 2 digitized issues of the Delineator, some interesting books about the milinery trade, wages of women in the trade, and my two favorites from the collection:

The millinery department, written by Charlotte Rankin Aiken and dated 1918 and Millinery, written by Natalie Kneeland and dated 1925.

The millinery department is a book explaining how a millinery department is set up, how it should be run, and goes into lots of details about the different kinds of hats, materials, finishes, trimmings, and more. It’s lots of fun to read, I just browsed through it and found it very amusing. Take this good advice for example: “The power of the line is almost inconceivable. Faces seem to grow shorter or longer, fuller or thiner, noses appear to raise or to lower their tips, and even eyes seem to grow slanting or straight, large or small, under the influence of the shape of the hat.”


Copyright of Harvard University Library

On the other hand, the book Millinery by Natalie Kneeland is a “merchandise manual for retail salespeople”. Browse through it and you will find little jewels like this one “…a hat may be bought which is quite unbecoming and possibly not even very comfortable simply because it has that indefinable something about it which we call style.” EXCUSE ME?!!! Yes, it makes me look like a toad and makes my head feel like it’s going to explode, but it has style?!… give me a break!

Do not pay too much attention to me though because the book goes on to make some interesting points and it’s worth reading.

 I urge you to explore the Open Collections Program of the Hardvard University Library, you will not regret it!


  1. Now you would understand how I can spend entire days at work (shhhh….don’t tell) during slow moments surfing through Ebay, Google, Google Images, and electronic data bases (Google books, for instance.) There is no such thing as too much information when it comes to hats! By the by, have you peeked at the Vintage Sewing site?

    Love all the hat info by era. I printed them off.
    I just got the DVD today of the 30 minutes Under the Brim. I loved the 10 minute clip on Quickflixs (promise me you saw that link in my blog on 2/23…
    I was screaming it was so great. “I want that hat…and that hat…and that one too!”
    Surprised the neighborhood dogs didn’t start barking!
    Ta ta for now…

    Comment by jill — March 3, 2007 @ 2:53 am

  2. Checking out these references. Thanks!

    Comment by Marie Christopher — March 8, 2007 @ 6:44 pm

  3. Oh, my!! What a wonderful hour or so I have just spent looking, reading……

    Comment by Marie Christopher — March 8, 2007 @ 8:18 pm

  4. It’s St. Patrick’s Day…where is the green on your blog???


    Comment by jill — March 17, 2007 @ 4:41 pm

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