Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Once-upon-a-time hat stores in Port Arthur

Shopping then and now, Part 4

Greta Garbo in Marie Walewska, 1937

In 1909, there were five millinery shops in Port Arthur. Vuonna tuhat yhreksän satta yhreksän, Arturissa olli viis naisten hattu kauppaa. Millinery means hat shop, it comes from the word Milaner, a resident of Milan, Italy, which was famous for its silks and ribbons. The job of a milliner was women’s work — naisten ammatti -- a respectable trade that earned women a decent wage. In the past, women had to wear a hat to church (and this was not an option for Catholic women). In the 1930s, Hollywood films and glamorous movie stars influenced women, and hats became very popular. Kolme kymenta luvulla naiset matkii hohdokaat filmitähtit ja hatut suositteen. There were lots of social occasions to don a hat.

Black silk velvet vintage hat. I would've loved to model my Easter bonnet from this eye-catching crown!

Women bought hats to wear to parties, to weddings, to summer picnics, and loved to get a new hat for spring, especially for Easter. Ja niinkuin mun äiti sanoo, “Hattu on naisten kruunu.” And like my mother says (who loves to wear hats): “Hats are a woman’s crown.” I’m sure some of us remember how, as young girls, we eagerly looked forward to making Easter bonnets at school out of construction paper, crepe paper, and ribbons, and then showing off our masterpiece – our crown— while marching at the Easter assembly parade.

My father bought me this white straw hat with a navy blue ribbon for Easter when I was a little girl. To go with my lady-like hat, he also bought me a lady-like blue purse with a snap closure. He also bought me a sailor-look cotton striped dress. The touch of masculinity in its theme went with the masculine looking shoes I wore, which my mother bought me. This photo is one that I included in my Visual Autoethnography of Finnish Canadian Identity that I presented at a conference earlier this year. When I get a minute I'll talk about that one day.

Degas, The Millinery Shop. 1884-90

Back in 1909, some of the millinery shops in Port Arthur were (Miss) Duffy & Co. and Mrs. M.S. Traynor, both on Arthur Street (now Red River Road); Grace Killens on Park Street; McFadden’s Millinery Store on Cumberland Street; and P. Caisse on Pearl Street. In the 1940s up until about the late 60s, Vogue Millinery set up shop beside Waverley Library; Mrs. Anderson, the owner, and Rita Johnston were the milliners there. Anna’s Millinery was on 292 Bay Street, hatukauppias ja modisti, owner and stylist, Anna Pere.


Black Pete said...

How do you say "cute" in Finnish? (re your outfit, that is...)

northshorewoman said...

oh, the word we would use for "cute" is "sopo" --with the two dots over both the 'o's'. It would be pronounced like, hmmm, like say the word 'sir' without the r and stretch the i, and then add a sound like...gosh, that's a tricky thing to explain. Maybe try Google translator. It tells you the word.

My dad would be thrilled that the outfit he bought still gets comments!

Black Pete said...

I speak German, so i can handle umlauts reasonably well, though Finnish umlauts are in a class all their own.

All I can say is, your dad bought quality! :)

Ari said...

You certainly were Shirley Temple of Port Arthur in those days.

northshorewoman said...

yes, don't I look like a Finnish Canadian version of Shirley Temple? ...or maybe a childish Doris Day? She was my idol in those days.