Tag Archives: Easter bonnet

The Wickedest Easter Hat: 1902

1902 Easter Hat

New York, Feb. 23.

Dearest Diana:

I did the wickedest thing to-day—intentionally! Like all other girls I know I did so want a new hat. And like a great many I know, I did not have the money with which to buy it. So what did I do?

I went down into my bandbox.

Later, with my last summer’s hat in my mind, I sallied forth to the nearest maline counter and here I bought four yards of exquisite stuff, all shirred into darling little puffs. With this in one hand I stepped over to the applique counter and bought some silvered dots. I then purchased nine pink roses of natural size and a perfect bush of silvered rose leaves.

Going home I covered my last summer’s hat with the maline, placed the roses on the top of it, at the back, letting the leaves trail down in front over the brim, and, finally, I set a few roses under the side. At the back I arranged some leaves to fall upon the hair.

Then, and here comes the wickedness, I ripped the French label out of my last winter’s opera hat and sewed it into my new Easter hat! And, now, to all intents and purposes, I have an imported creation, rich in everything except the cost.

The Philadelphia [PA] Inquirer 2 March 1902: p. 44

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: It was the holiday dream of every well-dressed lady to have a new Easter hat. Even the dead were insistent about their millinery…. And at this critical time of the fashionable year, ladies were faced with conflicting messages in the papers: “Buy one of our beautiful Paris hats in the latest mode!” Or “Be thrifty! Re-trim last year’s hat so it looks like new!”

It seems a pity that the young lady ripped the label out of her genuine Paris opera hat. There were other options, such as purchasing faux-Parisian labels as mentioned in this advertisement for The Wanamaker Store:

A windowful of children’s hats was shown recently in a New York store with the label of Caroline Reboux on every one. Caroline Reboux, who never made a child’s hat in her life!

In these days, when Paris labels can be purchased so cheaply and affixed to spurious models, there is a comfortable feeling in buying where you are sure that Paris hats are Paris hats. The Morning News [Wilmington DE] 23 September 1904: p. 5

And Mrs Daffodil is shocked to find that American manufacturers were labelling their goods as imported, to increase their desirability.



A New York society has taken up a new idea which ought to be pressed. Briefly stated it is an attempt to make manufacturers and dealers in this country label their American goods with domestic labels and cease the use of the foreign label on goods made here.

There are plenty good reasons why this campaign should have the indorsement of every sensible business man and every wise consumer. In the first place the question of honesty is involved. The public is swindled by hats bearing a Paris label, when they are made here. In the second place, it is the best policy. We can make most articles in this country as well as they can be made abroad, some of them better. In the third place, it is patriotic. It should be the pride of Americans to use American names and to place upon their products the legend “Made in America,” in competition with the “Made in Germany” label, so familiar in trade. The Allentown [PA] Leader 16 October 1900: p. 1

Easter Hat 1902


Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.



The Ghost Wanted Her Easter Bonnet: 1894

Jose Guadalupe Posada, La Calavera Catrina

Jose Guadalupe Posada, La Calavera Catrina


It was at the midnight lunch and the telegraph editor told the story. We had all been kicking over the extra ‘assignment’ the city editor had just given us of writing an Easter story. Every man on the reportorial staff was to contribute one. The telegraph editor said he could reel off Easter stories by the yard if he had no more to do than the reporters. The sporting editor asked him for a sample. We lighted cigarettes and prepared to listen. He said:

“This is a ghost story. It is an Easter ghost story, and there is a woman in it. The woman was married to a newspaper man. His name was Bob Scrutiny. He was a jolly good fellow, but a heavy drinker and a thorough spendthrift. His wife was a silly tempered woman, or rather more of a school girl than a woman. Her temper was fearful. When angry her face and neck became scarlet, the veins in her temples expanded and she was a very unattractive person all round. Scrutiny loved his wife more than anybody except himself. He got a good salary, and she spent the greater part of it. He was always ‘broke’ by Thursday and on Mondays he was generally eating lobsters and drinking champagne at midnight. On Fridays he ate toast and drunk tea. Well, Bob was a good newspaper man. He wasn’t steady in his work, but his brilliance at times compensated for his general good-for-nothingness at other times. One night he would fairly reel ‘copy’ off by the yard; the next he would work an hour over a ‘tow-line head.’ But everybody including his managing editor liked him and his position was as secure as—well, as mine, for instance.”

The telegraph editor stretched his legs out complacently.

“But the managing editor resigned finally to accept a position as confidential secretary to Hon. Somebody or other and a new man was called from New York to fill the vacancy. One of these plodders, you know; same yesterday, today and forever; never startled at anything, moving along at the same pace no matter what the rumpus. Everything went on smoothly for a week or so. Then Scrutiny got one of his off spells and also got a big assignment; some gilt edged murder story, I believe. He got his facts all right; he always did, but when he came into the office that evening about 10 o’clock he told us that he’d be d__d if he felt able to write a line. However, he sat down and after three hours apparently hard work he sent his ‘copy’ up. The new managing editor read it. He came downstairs and said:

“’Make a column more of this, Mr. Scrutiny, and make it spicier.’

“’Make a column more of this? Mr., I couldn’t make a line more out of that to save my neck.’

“The managing editor repeated his request, then demanded more of the story and ended by leaving the ‘copy’ on Bob’s desk with instructions to write or quit. Bob quit.

“You don’t see where the Easter part comes in, eh? Well, Bob went home and told his wife of his discharge. It was about a month before Easter. She told him not to mind and gave the usual bread and cheese in a cottage story. Bob felt relieved. Knowing her temper he had anticipated a regular equinoxial storm; on the contrary, for a week or so he lived a regular honeymoon existence.

“But then Lalla, that was Bob’s wife’s name, wanted an Easter bonnet.

“Bob told her he had never denied her anything, but she’d have to go without a new bonnet this Easter. She teased and scolded, wouldn’t listen to reason, and finally worked herself into such and uncontrollable state of anger over the really trivial deprivation that I’m hanged if she didn’t break a blood vessel or something and die right then and there. It was, of course, an awful shock to Bob. He had loved his little wife, and, as men go, had been very true to her. They buried her on Easter Sunday in the big family vault, for Scrutiny came of good people, and Bob wore crepe on his hat and looked haggard.

“One day he came to the office and complained of dreaming constantly about his wife. She came constantly to his bedside and reproached him, he said. Some young fool laughingly asked him if she wanted that bonnet yet. Bob turned white, and said, ‘Yes, she asked for her bonnet, her bonnet, her Easter bonnet, so pathetically.’ This went on for several weeks. He told us he never slept and we knew he didn’t eat enough to keep a canary alive. One night he came to the office late and remarked to his small coterie of friends that he had bought that bonnet and the next time his ‘girlie,’ he always called her that, came to him he proposed to give it to her. We did not take the matter seriously. Well, Bob went home and we learned in a roundabout way that he had purchased a bonnet. He showed it to someone.

“About two hours later the night police reporter brought in the story that Scrutiny had been found dead at the Woodland cemetery.

“We questioned the reporter eagerly. He had not committed suicide, we learned, but there he lay with one hand clutching at the bars of the gate of the tomb where his wife lay buried. And near him lay an empty bonnet box.”

The telegraph editor puffed at his cigar a moment. Then he asked for a light. We roused ourselves and found that our cigarettes had all gone out.

“What do you ‘spose became of that bonnet?” asked the night editor absently.

Plain Dealer [Cleveland, OH] 25 March 1894: p. 10

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: The acquisition of a new Easter bonnet was an article of faith for every church-going lady; one would be better off dead in a ditch than seen wearing last-year’s bonnet, no matter how cleverly re-trimmed.  Even dead women desired the latest modes in hats. Mrs Daffodil has previously written about a ghost who ordered a hat. Vanity does not end with the grave. This must have been an Easter bonnet to die for.


Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.


The Easter Bonnet in Miniature: 1903

 The Easter Bonnet in Miniature

Already the shops are blooming with cards and booklets for Easter. The usual crosses of lilies and books of forget-me-nots are in evidence, and the Easter rabbit and his friend the March hare are to be had in velvet and cardboard and candy. The jewelers will send home the costly gift of coral and diamonds or pearls and jade in a white box shaped like an Easter egg, and the florist will supply exquisite blossoms in baskets of nest-shape, made of twigs and pussy-willow, gemmed with violets and primroses. But probably the sauciest of all the Easter symbols is a wee hat-box—a gorgeous affair of flowered paper such as is used by the smartest of milliners—which, when opened, reveals a hat of coquettish demeanor and great chic.

It is trimmed elaborately and with daintiest skill, and the ribbon and flowers and bows and feathers are all very fine and very smart. Two hatpins with fancy heads are thrust into the sides of the hat, and a sheet of white tissue paper, about as big as a fairy’s pocket handkerchief, is laid carefully over this precious chef d’oeuvre when it is in the box. This pretty little joke is for the young husband to send to his bride.

Philadelphia [PA] Inquirer 24 March 1903: p. 9

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: The joke would be on the young husband if the bride did not also get a new, full-sized Easter hat of the latest design, costliest  trimmings, and a very smart bill to match.  The expense of the yearly Easter hat was a sore subject for many husbands and it was an ongoing joke that the “little woman” would have her Easter hat at any cost.

Her Modus Operandi.

On a fine morning, when the sun is shining, the birds singing (or caroling, as they say in springtime) and every one should be happy, she broaches the dismal subject. “Dearest,” she begins, trying to cuddle up as close as possible (too close for torpid weather), “do you know, I saw the most b-e-a-u-tiful hat downtown yesterday?”

That is the tip for you to break away. If you don’t you may never get another chance.

“Ah, did you?” you ask vacuously. “Do you know where my pipe is? I’ve misplaced it somewhere,” you add very quickly, indicating your anxiety for a smoke.

“Here it is! I’ve found it for you, sweetest. Don’t you love me? And do you know it was the most reasonable price I ever heard for such a beautiful hat?” Escape seems impossible, but you venture on another tack. “Now, I’ve gone and lost the evening paper. Will you find it for me?”

“Of course I will, beautiful. I will find anything that you want me to find. Oh, how I do love you. And how I do long for that hat. It is only $39.”

It is useless. You might as well give up. You may have to work overtime for three months to pay for it, but where is there any loophole of escape? Yes, there is one. You can skip town suddenly, telling no one your destination. But if you ever come back you will have to pay for that Easter hat.

Pan American Magazine Vol. 9 1909

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.


An Easter Hat Design Contest: 1915

As Easter weekend approaches, Mrs Daffodil thought her readers  might like to try their hand at designing an Easter bonnet. This was a contest run in a number of United States newspapers in 1915. The illustrations were printed, one a day, for a week, doubtless boosting circulation. If you are feeling creative, please fill in your own design and post on Mrs Daffodil’s Face-book page. Mrs Daffodil has no prizes to award, but would be delighted to see her readers’ millinery creations.

easter bonnet - draw your own contest


Design Your Own Spring Hat and Get It Made Up By an Expert, All Free of Charge

Girls of Tacoma and Southwest Washington

Here’s your chance to design your own spring bonnet along the most fashionable lines and have it presented to you, all made up, by one of the big millinery establishments of the city—FREE!

Every day next week The Times will print a two-column dummy head, leaving space for your design. Each face will be of a different type, so as to give wide variety. The general spring styles must be adhered to, but you may make it a small, chic hat, or a big, artistic one, as you please.

It’s Artistic Ideas That Will Win

Fine drawing won’t count—but you must make your ideas clearly understood.

The last picture will be printed a week from today.

The drawing must all be in by noon of Tuesday, March 30. The name of the winner will be printed in the home edition of March 31. The judges will be the fashion editor of The Times and Mrs. Cash H. Johnson, designer for the Floriece Millinery Shop.

And then—girls, here’s the big news—the Floriece Shop will set its best maker and trimmer at the task of building in the best possible shape the hat as designed by the contest winners.

Winner To Wear It Easter Sunday

The hat will be finished as fast as careful workmanship can accomplish it and will be exhibited in the Floriece display windows, 914 Broadway, all of Saturday, April 3, and any part of Friday for which it may be ready.

AND on Saturday night, April 3, this nifty creation will be handed over by Mrs. Johnson free of charge, to the winner for her to wear Easter Sunday, the next day.

Read These Rules Carefully

No sketches will be returned.

There is no age limit. Any girl or woman, except milliners or those connected with millinery shops or with The Times—may compete.

You can send in as many drawings as you wish, provided, of course, that in each case one of the dummy heads printed in The Times is used.

The prize will be awarded for the best single design no matter to which one of the six heads it may be adapted.

Now, girls, watch for Monday’s paper—AND GET BUSY.

The Tacoma [WA] Times, March 20, 1915, Image 1

This is a smaller picture of one of the hatless heads on which the girls of Tacoma and surrounding territory are asked to draw “the most attractive Easter hat.” But do not send in designs on this cut. Wait until next week when it will be reprinted in larger size.

hat contest

One of our own artists (a mere man) was asked to try his hand at designing a bonnet for the hatless head.

He did the following:

hat contest2

What do you think about it?

Can’t some of you girls do better?

Of course, this is printed just to show you one way to get into the Easter Hat Contest. This style must not be copied. Yours must be your own idea.

hat contest3

hat contest4


easter hat contest 2easter hat contest 1915 The winning entry appears below. Mrs Daffodil found it to be serviceable, rather than artistic in nature.

This is the hat design of the 804 submitted, which took first prize in The Times’ Easter Bonnet Contest. It is the work of Miss Emma Curtit, Avalon Apts. Miss Curtit is a stenographer in the city engineer’s office. For all the details of the judges’ report see page. 5.

Her design is of a large hat on sailor lines with a flat brim. It is quite simple in pattern and calls for trimming in black and white, which is extremely modish this season….A few boys competed; in all cases, we believe, with the laudable idea of giving the prize if they won, to their mothers. We wish there were prizes enough to go around, so they would have the pleasure of doing this. Robert Nutt of Alderton, age 13, and Elmer Haaland, 322 East Spokane St., were among the boys with a millinery bent of mind.

The Tacoma [WA] Times 31 March 1915: p. 1

easter hat winner

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.