The Fall Hat Box, 1911, Muhlfelder’s of Albany and Troy, New York

After buying the little purse catalog that was shaped like a purse, how could I resist a hat catalog shaped like a hat box? And even better, this little booklet proves to be a memento of an important event in a woman’s life – that of her wedding.

The owner of the booklet recorded the date of the wedding…

along with her new name and address.

This is a very good clue that Mrs. Klee’s first name was Rose, and the 1930 census provided a record of George and Rose Klee living in Troy. The 1940s census has George and Rose still living at 2231 Burdett Avenue in Troy with their son, daughter and son-in-law, and granddaughter.

On another page is the name Rose Ney. And yes, this is the same Rose, as Ancestry.com has her as Rose Ney Klee, born in 1890. There is even a photograph of Rose.  Rose lived to be 96 years of age.

Rose got married in the era of the huge hat. Think Titanic or My Fair Lady. I hope she had a suitably large hat for her wedding.

Muhlfelder’s was established by Jonas Muhlfelder, a German-Jewish immigrant. He worked in the wholesale millinery business in Albany before setting up his own stores for ladies around the turn of the twentieth century. The Albany Institute of History and Art has a fantastic photo of the millinery department of the Albany store.

Veils were for mourning, and also for motoring.

Most of these hats required not only a big pile of hair, but also a very long hat pin. Still, looking at photos of women in hats of this era makes me wonder how they balanced it all. It must have been a big relief to pull out the pin and place the hat on its stand.

7 Comments

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7 responses to “The Fall Hat Box, 1911, Muhlfelder’s of Albany and Troy, New York

  1. Jacq Staubs

    Incredibly wonderfully remarkable find!!!!One of the best? I think so. Bless Lizzie!!!Perhaps Rose wore a wreath of flowers with veiling in Downton Abbey? So much the rage at the time? She seems to have been a stylish young thing.JUST GREAT.

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  2. So enjoyed looking at all those huge hats. Thank you for the pleasure!

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  3. One of my very favorite things–an artifact with a story attached!

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  4. TheTactfulTypist

    This find is like peeking back into the past. Those fantastic hats must have made the wearer feel ultra feminine, ultra sophisticated, ultra desired. We surely have no equivalent clothing item today that holds such power.

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  5. I love this one! What is this type of paper ephemera called? Fashion booklets, ads, etc.? Also, how can we view a picture of Mrs. Klee? I searched and could not find her.

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  6. I love the unique take on this!!

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  7. So interesting. This is the era of enormous hats decorated with enormous amounts of feathers and even whole birds. I noted one of the pages in your hatbox shaped catalog described a modest hat as one decorated by “a single quill or just a wing.” I don’t know if you’ve already touched on this in a previous post, but it’s a fascinating story of the intersection of fashion and conservation. As the plume trade, dedicated solely to the business of trade in feathers for women’s hats, decimated bird populations, some women started speaking out against the fashion. Finally the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was passed in 1918 – seven years after the date of your catalog. A short article is here: https://www.audubon.org/news/a-hat-tip-women-who-started-modern-bird-conservation-us

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