The below is an excerpt from Doris Stensland’s historical novel, The Music Man From Norway. This information was gleaned from a 1905 Canton newspaper, reflecting actual people and life from early 1900s.
Wonder how many of you remember women wearing hats, especially at Easter?
“Mother, have you seen the advertisements for the spring millinery openings in town?” Inez asked her mother. “I think you and I and Jenny should go into Canton and take in one of them. They all sound special. Jenny and I want to help you find a new hat.”
During the month of April, 1905, the three millinery shops in Canton held Spring Openings. Mrs. Milliman had already held hers. Her shop had been beautifully decorated with fresh flowers. English violets from the southland were the decoration for one window and the other window held carnations in all their varied shades. The sweet breath of spring prevailed the atmosphere there.
The Indseth ladies decided to attend Helga Hage’s opening, which was the second week of the month. The boys harnessed up the horse for them, hitched it to the buggy, and the ladies were on their way.
When they entered Helga Hage’s store, they imagined they were in Japan. There were Japanese lanterns, umbrellas, and huge Japanese vases filled with palms and flowers, and the ladies walked on Japanese matting. A Japanese screen confronted them behind which a sweet voice induced them to peek and they discovered a dainty young lady, who smilingly offered them a fragrant cup – not of tea, but of coffee – for in Canton everybody drank coffee. As the ladies sipped and smiled and chatted, they felt Miss Hage’s millinery openings were one thing they would never want to miss. Helga and her assistant, Gennivieve Buckin, had been to Minneapolis on a purchasing trip. Gennivieve would trim and adorn the beautiful creations for the customers.
Inger chose a black finely woven straw, and the girls had Gennivieve add a gorgeous silk flower and some draping. “Oh, Mother, it looks so nice!” Her daughters were pleased with it.
A third millinery shop was owned by a Mrs. Riggins. In the newspaper she was quoted as assuring the public that her opening would surpass the two preceding ones.
Below are some photos of our relatives wearing hats, the first ones were around time of the above article.