Tonight's "Hats Off to the Ladies" Addresses Medfield's Hat Industry
The Medfield Historical Society will present the second of its fall programs, “Hats Off to the Ladies,” taking place at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church at 26 North Street in Medfield tonight at 7:30 pm.
Hats are important. They’ve served as protective coverings, status symbols and fashion statements. The straw hat or bonnet has been an accessory for more than two centuries. Straw hats found their way to Americans courtesy of Betsey Metcalf, a twelve-year-old girl, and through her desire and ingenuity an industry was born.
Hat factories and the hat industry drove the Medfield economy throughout the 19th century. We’ll take a look at the men who made their fortunes, and how the industry evolved. We’ll also dig deeper, examining women’s role in this industry beginning with 12-year-old Betsey Metcalf and explore what the industry represented in women’s lives—their emergence as a social, political and economic force within the community.
Admission is free and open to the public, although donations to offset program costs are always appreciated.