Meyers Fine Millinery was clever in the creation of their trade card for their store at 135 State. While some shops may have used a stock drawing design of flowers, or pretty women, Meyers chose to feature actress Mary Anderson. This helps date the card, as Mary was at the height of popularity from the late 1870s thru the 1880s. She retired from performing, as she was engaged in 1890 to quite the gentleman. She had met the Prince of Wales while performing in London, as she related in1886, but squelched rumors of two potential suitors at that time.
The one who caught her heart was yet to come along. “In 1890 she married Antonio Fernando de Navarro (1860–1932),an American sportsman and barrister of Basque extraction, who was a Papal Privy Chamberlain of the Sword and Cape. She became known as Mary Anderson de Navarro.” This is just a tidbit from the extensive entry on Wikipedia on “our Mary.”
A theater in Louisville, KY is named for her, as she started her singing career there.
No wonder she lent her image to a trade card for hats, as Louisville is still a hotbed of hat activity. The Kentucky Derby has run every year since 1875, and one wonders if Mary was one of the estimate 10,000 who attended.
But back to Meyers. Trade cards were very collectible, and the picture of Mary made it highly desired to glue into an album. Sadly when this card was removed, it made the print less legible. Essentially Meyers wanted all to know they carried “Trimmed Hats & Bonnets, Children’s Hats, Children’s Lace & Plush Caps, Ostrich Tips, Beaver, Derby Straw and Felt Hats. A large assortment of Mourning Goods always in hand. Ornaments and all the leading novelties at the well known LOW PRICES. ”
Other research indicates nothing to be found on which Meyers created this shop. Looking thru many Meyers in the 1870 and 1880 census one finds many carpenters and stone masons. At least they might have made enough money for the Mrs. to shop at Meyers for a new hat.