FrouFrou 4 YouYou

Chicago Millinery History: The Early Years-1800s-1900s August 23, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — froufrou4youyou @ 1:55 pm


A book by Erik Larson , “The Devil in the White City” has been a hit since it came out in 2003.

The Chicago History Museum even has a tour they regularly conduct based upon this book.

On page 17 of the book it was obvious this book had potential, as it mentioned hats in the context of the voting in 1890 on the location choice for the World Columbian Exhibition of 1893. A Chicago Tribune article was quoted and mentioned a hat shop across the street from the Tribune offices. Great joy erupted as Chicago was announced as chosen over the other stronger contenders of New York City, St. Louis, and Washington DC. This has raised the desire to find out anything about that shop. Oh, to have seen the hats in the window that day. Of course if anyone reading this has a clue, please share.

The book goes on to tell the dual stories of the Exhibition and of a mass murderer who went unnoticed during the time of the Exhibition, just miles away. There is a reference to the style of clothing worn by one of the murder victims while riding a bicycle. A white pique hat with watered black ribbon and feathers. Hard to imagine today. In that day it was the hot mode of transportation and entertainment to bike ride, so apparel was of significance.

There was another hat, far more prominent, mentioned as well. The white hat worn by Wild Bill Hickock of wild west fame. It was his white outfit that made him even more noticeable, and brings to mind the thought that the good guys wore white.

The worst hat by far was the dark bowler worn by the serial killer, H. H Holmes. His official photo shows him wearing that hat. The hat that covered the head full of evil. It sends chills down the spine to even think of holding it.  The possibility exists he bought that in Chicago. No effort shall be expended to find out that information. But wait there’s more!

Does this tale seem movie worthy? Leonardo DiCaprio bought the movie rights in 2010. It is wonderful to imagine him playing  Daniel Hudson Burnham as he masterminds the Exposition. But who shall play the evil Holmes? Perhaps Nicolas Cage? Now that hat I would dearly love to hold.File:DrHolmes010.JPG