American Milliners and their World : Women's Work from Revolution to Rock and Roll
Author(s): Nadine Stewart
Studies of millinery tend to focus on hats, rather than the extraordinarily skilled workers who create them. American Milliners and their World sets out to redress the balance, examining the position of the milliner in American society from the 18th to the 20th century. Concentrating on the struggle of female hat-makers to claim their social place, it investigates how they were influenced by changing attitudes towards women in the workplace.
Drawing on diaries, etiquette books, trade journals and contemporary literature, Stewart illustrates how making hats became big business, but milliners' working conditions failed to improve. Taking the reader from the Industrial Revolution of the 1760s to the sexual revolution of the 1960s, and from Belle Epoque feathers to elegant cloches and Jackie Kennedy's pillbox hat, the book offers a new insight into the rise and fall of a fashionable industry.
Beautifully illustrated and packed with original research, American Milliners and their World blends fashion history and anthropology to tell the forgotten stories of the women behind some of the most iconic hats of the last three centuries.
“I always felt I was an international milliner, not British, not European, not American, but if I had to put myself in an ideal place, it would be somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic. That's why this book for me is so extraordinarily attractive and informative. If you want detail, if you want accuracy, read this book. Nadine Stewart tells the story of American millinery and its relationship to the rest of the world with extraordinary flair, insight and knowledge.” —Stephen Jones, Chairman of the British Hat Guild, UK
“Hats have long been a glamorous fashion necessity; yet, the history of the American milliner remains woefully understudied. Nadine Stewart's rich, sweeping publication fills this void by illuminating the hatmaker's world, and the tumultuous cultural, sociological, and economic influences that shaped their struggles and their products.” —Patricia Mears, The Museum at FIT, USA
“This highly informative book provides a detailed delve into the social history behind the millinery industry and milliners in the United States from the eighteenth to the twentieth century ... this book is an excellent read for either an academic or keen amateur with an interest in millinery and social history during the nineteenth and twentieth century in America.” —The Journal of Dress History
“This absorbing social history delves into the feminine world of milliners - notoriously underpaid and exploited - and the ambitious entrepreneurs, immigrants, retailers, and reformers who shaped the industry. 'Hats tell stories,' asserted milliner Sally Victor; Stewart aptly ensures the colorful story of their makers is also told.” —Kristina Haugland, Philadelphia Museum of Art, USA