The Pulaski County Historical Society’s Museum is located on a cul-de-sac behind the Public Library, 121 South Riverside Drive, Winamac. It is open on Saturdays from late spring through summer and is used for educational purposes throughout the year.

Our curator, Dr. Natalie Daily Federer, manages items accepted for display. If you are interested in making a contribution, send an email to the information link for the Historical Society, and your information will be forwarded.

From time to time, displays will be featured on this site.

The History Of Hats

Hat 1The history of women’s hats dates to medieval times when women were required by the Church to cover their hair. In the 1700s hat makers, known as milliners, became more prominent. Milliners not only made hats but were also considered to be stylists. The term originates from Milan, Italy, where the best quality hats were produced at the time.

As fashions and society changed, so did the hat. Hats grew or shrank in size and function depending on the time period. Their shape, style and function followed hair styles, clothing styles and changing decorum. As times changed, hats were either an essential element of dress or an accessory. They often offered protection from the sun or weather.

During the French Revolution, cotton was introduced as a fabric and simple cotton bonnets were produced with a ribbon as a tie. In the 1800s hats were decorated with feathers, silk bows and other decorative elements. During the 1830s hats grew in size and proportion to fashionably block the sun.

Hat 2Designs changed in the 1850s, as hats were made smaller to allow a woman’s face and hair to be viewed. When the parasol was introduced to protect women from weather and the sun, the hat became more of an accessory.

Small hats were still very popular until the early 1900s when figures were often depicted as very slender and narrow. As women’s bodies became more slender, their hats became larger. Hats were at their largest during the 1910s when hat pins were required to help keep them in place. As World War I consumed America, the hat became smaller in size and would sit more toward the back of the head.

During the 1950s hats were decorated with feathers, pearls, flowers, gem stones and other items. Who could forget Jackie Kennedy’s pink pill box hat from the 1960s? The style was to wear tiny hats, pillbox hats that perched on the back of the head. The English Royals helped to make hats popular again in the 1980s. Princess Diana wore hats to numerous functions.