Hundred-year-old Velvet Hats

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, November 15, 1913: My love of a sister and I went to Milton this morning on a shopping tour. I got the daintiest hat I’ve ever had for a while. It is black velvet, trimmed with old rose ribbon and pink velvet flowers.

1912 velvet hat

Source: Ladies Home Journal (October, 1912)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Wow. . .  black velvet, rose ribbon, and pink velvet flowers.  The hat sounds incredible. I wish we could see it.

I couldn’t find any old pictures of black velvet hats, but I found several other lovely velvet hats.

1912 Velvet Hat

Source: Ladies Home Journal (May, 1912)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (November, 1912)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (November, 1912)

1912 velvet hat with ostrich feather

Source: Ladies Home Journal (November, 1912)

1913 orange velvet hat

Source: Ladies Home Journal (May, 1913)


‘My love of a sister’ is an unusual way for Grandma to refer to her sister Ruth. Did she mean it. . . or was she upset with her sister for some reason and being sarcastic?

22 Responses

  1. I thought she was sounding happy and affectionate :)

  2. What beautiful hats and such a strong contrast to the contemporary minimalism of today!

  3. Aw… I do wish we could see Grandma’s hat! It sounds beautiful.

  4. Love the hat pictures!

  5. I think she loved her sister for going shopping with her. And her excitement over the hat is catchy. I wish we wore such beautiful hats today. Love the pictures you found. Arent’ they gorgeous?

  6. We need to go back to hats. There is a certain elegance in wearing them.

  7. I also wish these fancy hats were back in fashion.

  8. Maybe Ruth loaned her some money to buy the hat,or at least talked her into splurging a little on herself. I wonder who she imagined would be thinking she looked lovely wearing the hat?

  9. That last hat is a lot of fun!

  10. […] too bad that you couldn’t wear your new black velvet hat that was trimmed with a rose ribbon and pink velvet […]

  11. I’m voting with everyone else. I think she was happy with her sister because she was so pleased with the hat she bought. And fair enough, that hat sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing these lovely pictures of other hats around the time.

  12. Her reference to her “dainty” hat makes one wonder what style it was.

  13. Grandmas hat sounded really pretty. I really fancy old hat or lapel flowers. You rarely see them any more.

  14. […] It’s probably the hat that Grandma bought on November 15, 1913: […]

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