Madge’s Hatbox is dedicated to my grandmother, Madge Beals Meredith.
Ora Madge Beals was born on the 22nd of February, 1896 in Montpelier, Indiana. The family traveled by covered wagon to Kansas where Madge lived part her young life in a sod house. At age 16 Madge informed her mother, Armenta Jane, that she was finished with school. Madge was sent to apprentice with a milliner “so she wouldn’t sit around all day!” Around 1917, on her own initiative, she found an investor and opened her first Hat Shop in Scooba, Mississippi. Later she moved back to Kansas and opened a hat shop in Newton. There she met my grandfather, Ray Meredith, got married, and settled into her lifelong roles of housewife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother in Wichita, Kansas.
Madge took care of me when I was a kid while my mom was at work. I will always remember her hats and a music powder box that I was always opening to her chagrin. My favorite hat in her collection was an ostrich feather turban. Wish I had it today! Madge taught me how to wear hats and would always Tsk, Tsk, Tsk whenever she glimpsed a lady wearing a day hat in the evening. Ladies – there Are rules about these things!
I even wore a custom-designed hat rather than a veil at my wedding in 1978.
It was from her and my mom, Millie, that I first fell in love with hats and all things fashion. I have been collecting vintage hats, jewelry and accessories since I was 15. I am old enough now that items that I bought new are now officially vintage. What goes around comes around I guess.
p lease check out my Vintage Shops on Etsy:
This blog is dedicated to Vintage Style and to Madge, a woman who continues to inspire me.