A bit more Googling gives a lead on a 1997 article:
The writing style of Jeff Jewell is enjoyable, as is the content of his article from The Bellingham Business Journal Feb.1997, Welcome to ostrich capital of NW.
He too addresses the issues of the millinery world, but at the far end of our continent in Bellingham, Washington. One delightful tidbit he included was the impact of these Merry Widow hats on movie goers:
“In 1909, D.W. Griffith’s widely distributed three-minute film “Those Awful Hats” humorously portrayed a movie audience jockeying to catch a glimpse of the screen amid high-altitude headwear. Played between vaudeville acts, the short ended with “Ladies will kindly remove their hats.” http://bbjtoday.com/blog/welcome-to-ostrich-capital-of-the-nw/990#
This hat must have really been a head turner.
Happy 56th day of 2011!