FrouFrou 4 YouYou

Chicago Millinery History: Raymond Hudd, An Overview October 4, 2017

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Raymond Hudd (Huddlestun) was born Dec 19, 1924 in Custer, MI, Mason County, and died July 20, 2010, in Muskegon. MI. His parents were Glenn and Vilma Huddlestun.  Glenn Sr passed away in 1981 but in 1972 compiled a family history which goes back before Norman the Great in England, of landed gentry.  Later early ancestors, in the US, relocated primarily to VA, where there is a town named Huddlestun.

Early Years

Raymond’s father had moved to Michigan as a child from IL. When he grew up he became a carpenter, and had a farm. Raymond loved to tell the story of his mother’s affection for violets. In spring, when the first of the violets appeared the children were then allowed to go barefoot outside. Vilma passed away in 1946, and of a total of five boys, Raymond focused upon helping his younger brothers, including Ivan. Raymond worked locally, at the Campbell Wyon Cannon Foundry after high school, but moved back to the farm when his mother passed away. The favorite pastime was listening to dance music broadcast from Chicago.

“In a 1988 interview with the Tribune, Mr. Hudd said his first creation was a mud-and-leaves hat for his two mules, Jack and Fanny. It took a while to train them to keep on their hats, but they finally caught on and wouldn’t leave the barn without them,” Mr Hudd said.”

“From barnyard mules, Mr. Hudd advanced to Gold Coast socialites. In 1948, he left Michigan to study at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After two years creating millinery displays for others, he opened a shop in 1950 and shortened his name to Hudd.”1.

This photo is dated 1950, the photo at top in undated but is likely at least 10 years later.

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He had been working on State Street in large department store window display, and came to feel he could make hats at least as good as the ones he was featuring in the windows. His efforts began on a small scale.

Early Professional Years

Inspiration is part of success, and he looked to the works of others, having kept news clippings from as early as an eight page millinery section in the spring of 1949 of the Chicago Tribune. He acknowledged learning as he went along while buying supplies from Fox Millinery on Lake Street, an established wholesale supplier.

The only opening he had a pre-printed announcement paper for was the opening Aug 19, 1950, at 20 E. Chicago. Photos from his personal album from that day.

 

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In 1962 he seems to have moved to 6 E. Division for a short time. Mid 1960’s he was at 22 Elm Street in Chicago. It is unclear when he opened at 40 Oak St, in what is still one of the toniest shopping blocks just west of the famed Magnificent Mile, Michigan Avenue. Some of the dating of his locations comes from a three inch binder of letters and notes from the comedian Phyllis Diller, including some sent to a box number at Merchandise Mart, tho nothing indicates he sold from there. During the mid to late 70s he sold wholesale at Charles Stevens, and Wieboldts, on State St, and Saks Fifth Avenue on Michigan Ave.

His last shop was opened in 1981 at 2545 N. Clark St, which closed in 2000. This was the only location he had a business card made for his use.

Successful Career

Advertising was not a big part of Raymond’s approach to finding customers. His papers had only one tiny undated newspaper ad from the Division location, tucked between two of his business cards. In one black on cream paper four page booklet Raymond created an invitation to a three day special event Nov 3-5. No year is given, but it is likely 1960s, at 40 E. Oak. His one room, one artist Little Gallery adjoining his millinery section featured Patricia Babcock from Miller, IN.

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This booklet is the only indication of a store assistant, Mr. Del, whose last name remains a mystery. For almost all of his creations Raymond did it all. In the mid 2000’s I had the pleasure to meet one gentleman, Mr. Eugene Wright, who had sewn many a pearl on a hat design by Raymond.

 

He was an active retailer along with several who pushed to create the first Chicago Gold Coast art fair, an outdoor street experience which still continues, 60 years later.

“Seven times, he won the Easter bonnet contest at the Drake Hotel in Chicago, so many times, in fact, he was forbidden to enter an eighth time.”2. In the 1960s there was extensive newspaper coverage of social events of brunch and fashion shows with hat contests on Easter. There were years Raymond hats won at different events across the city. The Drake Hotel was literally down the block from his shop at the corner of Oak and Michigan Ave. Typically the prizes the hotel restaurants provided were modest, such as a cake or bottle of champagne. The news coverage was the icing on the cake for Raymond.

“One of his first high-profile customers was Lee Phillip Bell, a famous Chicago “weather girl” who wore a different hat every day to reflect the weather. All were designed by Hudd.”2. He rented the hats to the studio, and tho they were returned, it is unknown what became of them. Few would recall Lee’s weather girl days, but many are familiar with the TV creations of her and her husband. “After leaving her TV show, Bell joined her husband to co-create the popular CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless in 1973 and its sister show The Bold and the Beautiful in 1987.” 3.

Although hats were owned by Joan Crawford, it was Phyllis Diller, who topped over 500 hats.

“Among the more outrageous objects Mr. Hudd placed on his hats were a burlap sack of potatoes and shredded computer printouts used for the Oliver North 1987-News-in-Review hat.”4. Each year on New Year’s Day Raymond revealed a store window display with a hat inspired from news issues during the previous year. They were not intended for use, although on occasion a brave woman did add these to her wardrobe. They were intended to showcase his windows, and serve as Head Art. Even after his retirement and shop closing were announced in 2000, customers and passersby wrote him notes of appreciation for the eye catching windows, as that was the start of his 50+ year career.

Each hat had a label inside, increasing in size from a black ink rubber stamp in the early 50s to produced labels with his name. In the center of the hat crown he placed a violet, to honor his mother. From 1981 onward he included a hand printed number. It started with the initials of his brothers who had passed away, followed by a number to represent which hat it was of the year. It ended with an initial to represent the year. Thus   GMB=527-M  indicated his honoring his brothers, the five hundredth and twenty-seventhth hat of 1993. He had a less expensive line of hats called Huddettes for three years, 1958-60.

Photo of Raymond working on a buckram base typical of the Huddette style, and appears to likely be from that 1958 era:

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In the 1960s color photos became popular and this 1968 one shows Raymond outside his shop, possibly beaming over the news coverage he posted in the window to draw more attention to the shop:

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In 1968 Raymond mailed this flyer to his father Glenn in Muskegon, from the shop address of 22 E. Elm in Chicago:

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The ongoing press coverage of events and awards added to a large pile of mementos of acknowledgement.

 

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For a Chicagoan, the name Bill Kurtis is synonymous with TV. In 1969 he MC’d the Easter event at the Camellia Room at the Drake Hotel when Raymond had won for a creation of black edged white ruffle covered hat. This picture shows he wore a matching tie, gaining him his own personal attire award, for most unusual tie.

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“And, yes, there was also that olive-size gallstone that Mr. Hudd had surgically removed and made into a hat. That cost me $10,000,” he said of his most expensive ornament, which was painted gold and dangled from a rhinestone-studded wire.”4. The $10K was the cost of his surgery for the gallstone removal. That hat is a part of the collection owned by his remaining brother, Ivan.

The gallstone hat, and many from his annual feature hats were part of an exhibit. In 2001, the Chicago History Museum honored Mr. Hudd with an exhibit called “Raymond Hudd — Hats Over the Edge.”

In 2005 an event was held to primarily honor Raymond by Chapeau: The Milliners Guild in Chicago. It was entitled “Falling Head First” and spanned three days of events at the Chicago Cultural Center, The Chicago Athletic Assoc, and the Fairmont Chicago.

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Eia, of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago also established the ongoing Raymond Hudd Millinery Awards to help support aspiring careers of head wear students.

Although Raymond did not do much advertising, he did compile a small booklet of his favorite hat thoughts. The face page of the booklet of fifteen pages, 3″x4″, had a title: “What is a hat….? Some comments about hats….A hat is a flag…a shield…a bit of armor…a badge of femininity. ”

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The stylized signature of his name was used in many ways, tho this is the only one where the end of the final letter d looks like thread through a needle.

“By the end of his career, Mr. Hudd estimated that he made 50,000 hats.”4

But what else is there to know about the man, besides making hats? He liked to draw his designs, and to photograph his store windows.

A set of pen drawings on linen stock 3×5 cards reveals dozens of designs. Some are labeled so one knows the year from his code used inside hats, one has the word
Special, which may have been a window piece or custom design. Others have no notation at all, making one wonder if they were ever created.

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Raymond loved to write poetry, and explore the popular 1960s focus on extraterrestrial life. “Hudd had served as president of the Space Age Club of Chicago, which he founded in 1959.”5. “The Visitor” was one of his poems. Here are photos of two 1998 hats inspired by his ongoing space interests:

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Raymond’s love of nature outpaced all others and that was likely a long held memory of his life on a farm in Michigan in the 1930s-1940s.

Some hats are still in closets, and some are in collections and museums, like the Chicago History Museum, Columbia College fashion collection, School of the Art Institute Fashion Resource Center, Wilmette Historical Society, and The Fashion History Museum of Cambridge, ONT, Canada.

The lack of photos of Raymond’s actual HATS is evident in this overview. More posts will follow to display a wide array of styles and the HEADLINER series.

Other posts on this blog with information about Raymond and his hats:

https://froufrou4youyou.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/chicago-millinery-history-raymond-hudds-paper-ephemera/

https://froufrou4youyou.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/chicago-millinery-history-school-of-the-art-institute-of-chicago-millinery-awards-2014/

https://froufrou4youyou.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/chicago-millinery-history-cats-pajamas-vintage-clothing-jewelry-and-textile-show-and-sale/

https://froufrou4youyou.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/chicago-service-club-luncheon-raymond-hudd/

https://froufrou4youyou.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/chicago-millinery-history-the-raymond-hudd-awards-for-school-of-the-art-insitute-of-chicago/

https://froufrou4youyou.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/chicago-millinery-history-raymond-hudd-lives-on/

https://froufrou4youyou.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/chicago-millinery-historyraymond-hudds-last-millinery-consultation-the-end-of-an-era/

https://froufrou4youyou.wordpress.com/2011/05/06/raymond-hudd-and-the-spring-hat-2011/

https://froufrou4youyou.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/angelas-wonderful-raymond-hudd-presentation/

 

  1. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-07-26/news/ct-met-huddlestun-obit-20110726_1_raymond-hudd-milliner-barnyard-mules
  2. http://www.mlive.com/entertainment/muskegon/index.ssf/2010/08/mason_county_native_raymond_hu.html
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Phillip_Bell
  4. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-07-26/news/ct-met-huddlestun-obit-20110726_1_raymond-hudd-milliner-barnyard-mules
  5. https://www.chicagohistory.org/raymondhudd/

Additional sources:

  1. http://www.obitoftheday.com/post/8065533475/raymondhudd
  2. http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Raymond-Hudd-A-look-back-at-the-milliner-of-the-millennium/33267.html
  3. https://www.pinterest.com/mrobak/vintage-hat-raymond-hudd/

 

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Chicago Millinery History: Raymond Hudd’s Paper Ephemera July 16, 2014

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A couple of years ago it was a thrilling day when Ivan, Raymond Hudd’s brother gifted a part of the collection of memorabilia papers, news clippings, binder of correspondence exchanged, and assorted photos. This week he returned with the bulk of the goodies. Before he left on another leg of his journey, I took photos of the things that returned with him.
Here is an assortment of the treasures that will return to California:
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Chicago Millinery History: School of the Art Institute of Chicago Millinery Awards 2014 May 8, 2014

011The annual awards for millinery were held May7, 2014 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. A large array of pieces, with great range of style. The faculty wizard of many things, Eia, arranged an enlightening event. (Please click on each photo to see it in it’s entirety.)

Glad I was not in the judge seat for this event. Fortunately a former Raymond Hudd award winner, Angela Morano was on the panel.
The items on display were so abundant that two classrooms were used for display. Some works were from students who had only taken one class, and others have had more than that.

IF I had won the lottery before heading downtown, I would have wanted to take a few home. In no particular order they would be:
The Dupioni silk at the top of the page really caught my eye.

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If I could give an award myself for best display I loved the sense of imagination used to create a worldly travel by this milliner:
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If I could give an award for student with the awareness that presentation is even more than the hats on the table, it is this student who had 4 wonderful pieces, but is showing how to make this unique cream satin headdress wearable:
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Lovely hat, best mannequin head.

Lovely hat, best mannequin head.

And finally the table of hats by a milliner who had a large body of work, with temptations to my partner guest attendees, Lorraine and Iris:020

When you look at Iris, Lorraine and Angela, you can tell they are in their element:
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Raymond Hudd would have been proud of all the creations.

 

Chicago Millinery History: The Raymond Hudd Awards for School of the Art Insitute of Chicago May 5, 2012

The awards to the millinery students of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago were held on Wednesday, May 2, 2012. The Wenzeler Gallery was a most unique location, but perfect as the gears this company manufactures were the inspirations for the hats.

A large group of students, family, faculty and university staff, as well as interested hat lovers attended the opening reception for the dozens of items on display through June, 2012.

The photo just above shows the line of demarcation for the gallery from the plant. Two worlds that seem dissimilar, yet when one is standing among the high tech and the high fashion it is a good combination. Mr. Wenzeler is the moving force for this gallery in his company headquarters and plant. The gears are created with incredible precision as well as creativity, and are found in many of the cars we drive. His appreciation for the arts brought him to offer this venue and unique inspirational experience for the students. It is no small matter that his life is graced by a wife with excellent fashion sense, and a delightful hostess as well.

The hats that follow are only shown from one view, but each is a three dimensional creation to allow your eye a chance to recognize their relationship to the gears that serve as the jumping off point in the design process.

It was hard to determine which hat would win the several awards presented, which included the Raymond Hudd, the Dean’s award, who choses one for her own collection, and a mystery person’s donation for awards, and the generous scholarship awards of the gracious host, Mr. Wenzeler.

Some attendees are seen enjoying the festive atmosphere, and also the official photographer whose use of a ladder was essential to get the best angles. Tho he offered this amatuer the use of the ladder, it is best those shots are left to the professionals.

Click here if you want to know the News coverage by the Sun-Times   There is also a photo gallery to click on within the article, and another here: http://pioneerlocal.mycapture.com/mycapture/folder.asp?event=1464922&CategoryID=2144&ListSubAlbums=0

 

What hat did this attendee wear? A Raymond Hudd, of course. A small gold lame with black feathers. It was great fun to show it to two of the students who graciously allowed their photos to be taken. Perhaps a few decades from now someone else will wear a vintage hat they created to another award ceremony with an award granted in their name. It is entirely possible, as Raymond himself started his art education in 1948 in this very school, before he opened his first shop in 1950.

Photos of the winners, you ask? No. The camera froze, which tho frustrating in the moment, allowed total attention to the event as the awards were presented. All were winners that evening, and will be on the forefront of design for decades to come.

 

Raymond Hudd Millinery Award Silent Auction April 20, 2012 April 21, 2012

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Each year students in the Advanced Millinery Class at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago are eligible to win the coveted Raymond Hudd Millinery Award. Contributions fund this award. It was our pleasure to raise some money for the 2012 awards.

Chicagoland ladies gathered for a Silent Auction of assorted Raymond Hudd and other donated hats. Grand fun was had trying on hats, enjoying light refreshments, submitting bids, and most of all, carrying home some treasured hats.

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Three groups of hats were set up, including some Raymond hats, one donated by Nancy Remick, three donated by Ivan Huddlestun, Raymond’s brother, two from Eia Radosavljevic, which Raymond had long ago designated for fundraising,  and many from the special collection gathered by Iris Sholder, and Mary Robak. Other hats were from the personal collections of Iris, Mary and Jean Unsworth,  whose wonderful 28th floor lake view penthouse community room served as our site.

What was so special about the special collection that Iris and I provided? Many folks realize Iris and I have collected Raymond hats when they become available on eBay. One day an interesting one came up for auction. When I wrote to the seller, a non-profit resale shop in Broadview, IL to ask about some details, I was delighted to learn there were more to be had. Long story short, 61 Raymond Hudd hats from one of the shops generous benefactors came home with us. A small number of the straws were included in this auction, with the felts to be featured at another similar event at a later time.

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Jean Unsworth, wearing one of her many, many treasured Ray hats, also graced us with a selection of her personal collection of clothing designs, just for the fun of trying on by some attendees.

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Nancy Remick, a longtime Raymond friend, wore her Raymond Cow hat.

Iris wore the second iris hat in her collection made by Raymond. Her first Raymond made specifically for her with the flowers purchased for a white straw, but then he used leftover flowers on several other straws that season. Finding another was the highlight for Iris when the “special collection” was discovered earlier this year.

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Susan Chandler modeled the Alligator hat, which in the end, went home with her. Susan came wearing a darling red and black sequin cocktail hat for the evening.

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Lots of happy ladies, and on Wed. May 2, there will be some happy students when they win the awards at the next fun hat event.

 

Raymond Hudd Millinery Award for School of Art Institute of Chicago Silent Hat Auction April 20, 2012 March 17, 2012

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago annually awards outstanding millinery students with the Raymond Hudd Millinery Award. The funds for that award come from donations, and it is time again for another silent hat auction for this fund.

Oct, 2010 a small fundraising event was held with members of CHIC, Charming Hats in Chicago. This almost annual event will again provide all money donated for the awards this spring It has been expanded now to include other interested hat lovers.

Many people are aware of Raymond Hudds life devotion to millinery in Chicago. His friend, Eia Radosavljevic, on the faculty at the university created the award for students in the fashion program in millinery at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Yes, that is the world renowned art museum in Chicago on Michigan Avenue with the lions out front.

The event will be held April 20, 2012 from 6pm until 9pm by invitation at Belmont and Sheridan Road in Chicago. An invitation is obtained by reply to this blog post for complete details. There is no charge to attend, and light refreshments will be served. There is a cost for parking, with a discount coupon for that, if it is mentioned you would need parking when replying in the post. The space is limited. Public transportation is just outside the door.

In 2010 a hat show was held at the nursing home Raymond was living at the time. Another was planned for the summer of 2011, but unfortunately Raymond passed on to his great reward. His brother Ivan had several hats that were destined for that show with the expectation they would then be used to fund the Award.  The earliest known Raymond hat with blue and black feathers is our showpiece, as it has his first label inside.

There are two other hats also from Ivan:

There will be other Raymond Hudd hats from the personal collection of Mary Robak and Iris Sholder. Only spring straws from the Raymond Hudd hats will be included.

There will be other Raymond Hudd hats added when the photos are complete. There will also be other non-Raymond Hudd hats included from the collections of Mary and Iris. Some of those photos also will appear here along with these:

The total number of hats for the auction has not yet been determined, but keep watching as some of the additional ones will be added.

Hope you can join us Friday April 20, 2012 in Chicago.