1914 Easter Hats

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

Friday, April 10, 1914:  Went to Watsontown this afternoon. Don’t have a new hat for tomorrow. Well, you see it will be Easter, that’s why. Oh, I don’t mean tomorrow; I mean the day after tomorrow.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (April, 1914)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (April, 1914)

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

Whew, another ambiguous diary entry. . .

Did Grandma buy an Easter hat when she went to Watsontown. . . or didn’t she?

Source: Ladies Home Journal (April, 1914)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (April, 1914)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (March, 1914)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (March, 1914)


46 Responses

  1. My mother used to enjoy wearing a new hat to church at Easter and looking round to assess who was wearing what. I’m sure your grandmother did the same. Competition would be rife!

    • I can also remember the importance of looking nice of Easter Sunday when I was a child. I never really thought about it, but you’re absolutely right, people did complete with each other to see who had the nicest outfits.

      An aside–somehow this makes me think of the mink stole that a businessman’s wife often wore to church when I was a kid.

  2. We were still buying new hats for Easter when I was a kid.

  3. Hope Helena did get a new hat.

  4. In your easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,
    You’ll be the grandest lady in the easter parade.
    I’ll be all in clover and when they look you over,
    I’ll be the proudest fellow in the easter parade.
    On the avenue, fifth avenue, the photographers will snap us,
    And you’ll find that you’re in the rotogravure.
    Oh, I could write a sonnet about your easter bonnet,
    And of the girl I’m taking to the easter parade.

    • Thanks for sharing the Easter Parade lyrics. What a great song! It wonderfully provides a sense of the importance of Easter bonnets years ago.

  5. Ladies wore hats to church when I was growing up – and little girls wore them on Easter. Perhaps Grandma was looking forward to Sunday, since she was “a day ahead of herself”!

    • It was a mixed bag at the church I attended as a child. Some women still wore hats; others didn’t–though most women and girls probably had a hat on Easter.

  6. No new hat?! That just seems wrong–that was important aspect of Easter, getting the new outfit and hat!

    • I tend to think that she just didn’t use precise wording when she wrote this entry, and that she got a new hat. . . though there’s no mention of a new outfit, so maybe she was going to have to wear an old dress.

  7. “Do you like my hat?”

    Have you read the children’s book Go Dog Go?

  8. She must have been wishing for a new hat…perhaps she buys one on Saturday, that’s if the shops were open on Easter Saturday back then! Love the styles you have found Sheryl. :)

  9. I love those hats!

  10. Gorgeous images of hats back in the day!! I remember getting a flower bedecked headband one Easter Sunday when I was a child. Oh, I just thought it was the coolest thing!

  11. I remember my Mom talking about the importance of an Easter hat. Hopefully Grandma got a nice one.

  12. I also remember getting a hat to wear for Easter, it had a ribbon, no flowers :)

  13. Too bad we gave up hats. My cousin remembers sitting behind my sister and me in church. Our big hats blocked her view. I gave my collection to the local high school theater department.

  14. The hats bring back memories of Easter when I was a little girl. We’d get new hats and dresses and new little white patent leather shoes and go into the city (the Bronx, NY) to my favorite Aunt Jean’s brownstone. We even got little white gloves for the occasion. We had dinner and an egg hunt and got baskets full of jelly beans and chocolate. :)

    By the time I was your grandmother’s age my aunt had moved to Florida and we stopped dressing up for Easter. It just wasn’t the same after that.

    • Your Easter memories are wonderful! It brings back memories of white patent leather shoes I had. (I always seemed to get scratches on them.) The egg hunt sounds like a lot of fun.

  15. I hope your Grandma did buy a hat on her trip to town. Easter “bonnets” were all the thing and getting all dressed up for Easter was one of spring’s happy pleasures.

  16. I have always envied ladies who can wear a hat. My head is too small.. Well, I would say that wouldn’t i?😊

  17. They had some nice hats, and wore them in style.

  18. My mom always had us wearing easter hats, a tradition you see less of in modern times. These hats featured are lovely!

  19. What a lovely post – made me think of the hats my mother got me for Easter when I was a child…not as fancy as the selection you’ve found though!

  20. “in your Easter bonnet … ” I remember walking around Lake Compounce in Bristol, CT, with my High School boyfriend singing that song on Easter Sunday., wearing my new spring coat, he in one of those nice clean smelling outdoor-dried, white shirts, hand-ironed by his mother.

    OK. May the writers among you forgive my complex run-on sentence.

  21. […] was Easter Sunday. Two days prior to this entry you mentioned Easter hats, but when Easter actually arrived you didn’t mention it.  […]

  22. In photos of my grandmother and her friends from those years, they are wearing hats so similar to the ones in those photos.

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