It is easy for one to sit behind the plate glass and make mind bets on the success of the millinery openings. Some deductions are obvious. The ladies and bachelors seem to get the greatest pleasure from the occasion. In fact the particular position which’ each person occupies in the social structure of the town is portrayed in their attitude on those exciting epochs .
When the fashion bonded public for the first time this Spring we wonder whether the Merry Widow or the Charlotte Corday, or some new favourite is to occupy the highest places for the present. The fluttering excitement of the maiden, the self poise of the matron, veteran of many campaigns, the cynical smile of the bachelor, society’s excess baggage and the thinly-veiled uneasiness of the heads of families—all pass in review before us. Judging from appearance hats are going to be very amicably worn.
The extreme horizon of the Happy World has been more or less contracted—so much so in fact that it will scarcely be necessary for ordinary men to carry a package of court plaster tor the purpose of repairing their damaged features in future. There is a new , favourite: “ The Mushroom.” It does not resemble the common or garden vegetable much, except in the name. It may be that the title was derived from the fact that with one of them in the house there isn’t “mushroom” for anything else.
Some people like to try on hats, some people don’t. It depends a good deal on how they look, but the ones who do not feel quite satisfied have the satisfaction of knowing; that they didn’t have their hair fixed right. Let it be understood that while the fans of the immediate future seem to a tenderfoot, to have shrunk slightly, there is still sufficient to them to prevent the summer’s sun making freckles on the end of the nose.
March 1909 Lanark Era
The fashion designer Lucile had designed the original widow hat for an operetta in 1907, but it influenced hat fashions for many more years.
The Merry Widow hat was always black and encased in filmy chiffon or organdie and festooned in feathers.
My great-grandfather James Prentice, son of immigrant parents James Prentice and Mary Ann Fraser Prentice, was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1850.
In 1874 James married Marion Umpherson, who was born at Umphersons Mills, Poland, Lanark County, in 1850. She was the daughter of James Umpherson and Agnes Waddell. Marion was working as a weaver at the time of her marriage. (Early spelling was “Umpherston“).
Upon the sudden death of her husband, Marion Umpherson Prentice found herself with a year-old son, James “Lorne” Prentice, and a 6-year-old daughter, Agnes Kathleen Prentice, to raise. She had received no money from her mother-in-law’s large estate: since her husband had died, his share of his mother’s estate went into trust for his children (James Lorne and Agnes Prentice) until they were 21 — despite the fact she was left with $1,736.72 worth of unpaid promissory notes along with many other unpaid bad debts from her husband’s business.
Obviously a stalwart woman ahead of her time, she did not immediately remarry to have the help of a husband to raise her children. No doubt with the help of her family raising the children and working at her old weaving job, she persevered for about 10 years until about 1890 when she purchased a millinery shop on the main street of Lanark Village. An early female entrepeneur, she and the assistants she hired kept up-to-date with millinery trends by attending regular fashion shows in the cities. In the big window of her shop she displayed her collection of hand-made hats — further back in the shop one could find “ladies delicate things” — intricately hand-sewn.
While business boomed, she raised her children, ran a successful business and, when her son James Lorne’s young wife Katie Jane Molyneaux (1882-1915) died leaving three young children, she raised them as well for four years until Lorne remarried. When daughter Agnes “Minnie” married James McLean, a tailor, she moved them into the house beside her own home/shop where Agnes obviously was still available to assist her — and her husband. Agnes had become a formidable seamstress in her own right, (her wedding photo shows some of her beautiful handwork); both she and her mother Marion passed their considerable sewing and hand-work knowledge down to Lorne’s young daughter, Jessie Marion Prentice, my mother, and to the nieces of James’ brothers, several of whom became “town seamstresses” both in Lanark County and in the wilds of the new Red River Settlement of Manitoba where some of James’ brothers settled in their middle years.
When she died in 1918 Marion left a considerable estate including several unpaid promissary notes showing she had continued her and her husband’s earlier practice of lending money over the years to family members. She never “retired” from her business and she never remarried. Her official cause of death in 1918 was “exhaustion”. She is buried beside her husband in Lanark Village Cemetery.
Lanark Era, 9 Oct 1895: “Mrs. James Prentice has returned home from a prolonged trip throughout Western Ontario.”
Perth Courier, 10 Apr 1896: “Mrs. James Prentice, having purchased the millinery business of the late Mrs. Dougherty, and engaged the services of Miss Pepper as Milliner, will have her “Millinery Opening” on Friday and Saturday, 10th and 11th of April.”
Lanark Era, 23 Nov 1897: “At Mrs. Prentice’s you will find the latest and most fashionable styles in Millinery and the lowest prices. . . . etc.” (Advertisment).
Lanark Era, 16 Mar 1898: “Mrs. James Prentice and her milliner, Miss Rice, are in Ottawa this week attending the spring openings.”
Lanark Era, 29 June 1904: “Ladore – Mrs. J. Prentice and Mrs. J.G. McLean (Agnes Prentice McLean, dau), were the guests of Mrs. Wm. Umpherson on thursday last.”
Lanark Era, 27 June 1906: “Miss Laura Manion, who has been employd as milliner with Mrs. Prentice, left for her home in Arnprior on Sat. last.”
Lanark Era, 6 Mar 1907: Local news: “Mrs. James Prentice and her milliner are attending the Millinery opening in Toronto.”
Perth Courier, 16 Oct 1903: Lanark Links: “Miss McCargar and Mrs. Prentice had their millinery openings on Wed. of this week. Their show rooms are filled with the latest creations in the line of millinery. Miss McCargar has had her rooms changed from the rear of the second flat of the McDonald block to the front part.”
Almonte Gazette, 8 Aug 1904: Lanark Links: “The Lanark Millinery houses were in full feather last Friday, the spring opening day. The displays at Miss McCargan’s, Mrs. Prentice’s and Mrs. Cohen’s excelled those of former years, and were viewed by a large number of the town’s fairer sex.”
Lanark Era, Jan 23, 1918: Obituary, “Death of Mrs. James Prentice“: There passed away to her eternal reward on Tuesday evening the 22nd inst. Mrs. James Prentice, relict of the late James Prentice, at the age of 67 years and 7 months. Mrs. Prentice was born at Umpherston’s Mills, Lavant Twp. She was the daughter of the late James Umpherston of this village and has lived here for more than 50 years. 45 years ago she married the late James Prentice who was a harnessmaker in Lanark Village, and who died in 1880. About 25 years ago she started a millinery business and fancy store and conducted the same until her death. She has been in failing health for about 2 years, but only took to her bed at New Year’s, and her death was due to a paralytic stroke. One brother, Mr. William Umpherston of Poland, surviving her. She leaves one son, Mr. Lorne Prentice, and a daughter, Mrs. Jas. G. McLean of this village to mourn the loss of a kind and dutiful mother. It is a unique coincidence that her death occurred on the same day of the same month as that of her father. In the village and community she was known as a kind and inoffensive neighbour and her traits of character had endeared her to all who knew her. The funeral takes place Thursday, the 24th inst, from Zion Church to Lanark Village cemetery, Revs. Messrs. Dustin and MacLeod officiating.
Max Movshovitz’s dry goods store was located in what was known as the Sumner Building. Morbic Sumner operated a dry goods store also. The Sumner Building at 154-160 Bridge Street is on Lot 25, which is one of the larger lots on Bridge Street. In the 1960’s a large fire occurred and a parking lot took over where some of the businesses had been. So it is unclear based on land deeds if some of the businesses were located in the Sumner Building or at what is now the parking lot.
Dr. Winters was a dentist and his practice was taken over by Dr. Smith an MD. Two Stanzel sisters operated a millinery store where Miss Miller had a stand. William Stanzel, originally of France, settled in Goulbourn and in 1874, William moved his shoe shop from Goulbourn to Carleton Place. William’s son Stephen learned the trade and Ross and Earl later owned Stanzel’s shoes. These two Stanzel gals were William’s daughters .
So after that I began to research trying to find the Stanzel girls I found this terrible accident that fatally wounded Richard Stanzel. He had three sons, but one of his children, Viola P. died at 6 months old. After Richard accidentally passed in 1934 at the age of 61, his wife Elizabeth Ida died 6 years later in 1940 at the age of 64.
I found this local social note from 1913 in the Ottawa Journal this week. I became interested as she was from Carleton Place and was going to study about the hat business. So, tonight I began to see if I could find out anything about her and found out her real name was not Elsie it was Effie, so her name was a misprint.
To start off the Spring fashion season of 1913 one could go back to the Chicago Tribune anytime after Jan 1. Unfortunately, in Chicago Spring shopping is hard to fathom when so much snow is still ahead. For the purposes of this exploration of Mandel Bros and millinery, we start the Sunday after Valentines Day.
February 16, 1913 Chicago Tribune carried their usual full page feature of fashion. Chicago women would have wanted to know what styles Paris was showing, as this drove the fashion industry. Milliners would want to see the hats, but also know what colors were in style as well.
Mary Buel wrote this fashion column and captured the mood of Paris in her descriptions. Hats had the last word, ie, the last paragraph.
“Hats are of extreme importance as they seem to change from day to day, and it is really dangerous unless blessed with a full purse.” “The very newest shapes are perfectly tiny, with low rounded crowns, and the smallest turned up brims. some are made of straw with the brim of broche; others are entirely made of broche and in all sorts of light shades.”
What Effie and the McCallum family did not know was Chicago had a huge millinery business and they advertised for positions out of town. It was a way for out of town millinery establishments to purchase their supplies and also hope to find a pool of labor.
Hyland Bros, 84 E. Randolph advertised for yearly work for milliners to go to New York. Transportation was included. Just as Chicago had been a big draw for the rural girl to seek a job in Chicago, the allure of the bigger city of NY could also have had her move on once she had proven herself here. So one could say Effie thought she was going to be quite the millinery gal and it never happened.
It is hard to gauge how many “girls” we’re need to be hired by all those placing ads, except for William F. Chiniquy Co, 1700 W. Washington.
“Millinery Workers Are you handy with needle? We could use 50 girls to work in ladies hats, either to trim or to sew crowns on brims. you can earn from $10-$20 per week. Come ready to work. ”
In the Blue Book of Commerce of 1917, under Section 22 millinery, there are four companies listed as wholesale to the jobbing trade. Chiniquy, plus E. Eiger and Bros at 1249 S. Wabash, R. Lippert and Co at 1048 Huron, and George Wagner at 207 N. Michigan Ave. Where the other three advertised for their seasonal help is unknown, but if 50 new hires were needed for spring by one, perhaps that meant 200 jobs for the group of four. A few days later their ad was for straw operators, which paid $40-$75 per week. This would have been astounding wages for a man or a woman, but this ad was in the Wanted Female Help section. It seems a few select women could actually make better than a living wage. Sadly this was seasonal work, even tho their ads never provided that bit of information. Only the ads from D. B. Fisk state the work was year round.
The millinery job openings in 1919 were of perhaps even more importance than some spring opportunities for the past few years. The soldiers were returning home, and reclaiming their jobs. Women’s opportunities for employment typically held by men were not as great as during WWI, but now was not the time for the independent sort of gal to look for a job generally held by a man. It was a good idea to seek woman’s work, and spring millinery held that opportunity. It was that or Western Union Telegraph, stenographer, or the potential new shortened course to become a nurse.–FROUFROU 4 YOUYOU
So what happened to Effie? I ran away at 15.5 to become a fashion designer and you can track me down. But Effie, not so much. When her father Robert McCallum died the obit only mentioned his son George and his daughter Maisie. Not one mention of his daughter Effie was made. She was mentioned in her brother George’s obit and it was mentioned that she had died before him. She was listed as Effie Sheppard, and no matter how many places I googled and looked I could not find any mention of her or her sister Maisie McCallum Miller.
I sense some things that embarrassed the family happened and her father disowned her. It happens.
Please send me pictures of you wearing a hat. When I was a child my grandmother Mary Louis Deller Knight told me that you were never fully dressed up unless you sports a hat and gloves. Today I have made most of my hat collection and have over 145 hats. It is a true passion of mine and hope one day it all comes back.
Linda’s Hat Challenge… Send me a picture of you wearing a hat.. Amanda Thompson–At a wedding in Calgary last August.
Wanita Bates in one of my creations
Patti Lennox in her mother’s hat
Maryann Morley—Me as Minnie Pearl at the Radio show for Dale Scott
Linda, Here’s me in a hat from my niece’s first communion. I bought the hat at the Real Wool Shop. Theresa Fritz
Cheryl Shore—Me at Upper Canada Village this summer sporting a shade hat 😉
Brenda Mattey—Wedding bound
Not a photo of myself, but my lovely mother Marilyn Devlin.-Susan Devlin
The beautiful Marilyn Robertson at St. James
Kim Ronzoni’s Kitchen Food Demo for Saputo Foods at Farmer’s Pick
Kim Ronzoni’s Kitchen at the Annual Carp Garlic Festival trying to smile for an impromptu photo with fresh garlic in her mouth!
I never wore hats when I was younger but people always compliment me! Kim Ronzini
Louise A Gour
I love hats.. I just never seem to find a good opportunity to wear them. Here’s a picture if me when I was in Australia. Everyone wears a fascinator during the Melbourne Cup in Australia… So I went along. I actually really liked it.
Outside the old St Andrews Church in my anniversary Hat Joann Voyce
Christina A. Preece
Marlene Springer-Mom shopped at Mrs. Shanes for hats for years!