American Milliners and Their World Cover Image

American Milliners and Their World

Women’s Work from Revolution to Rock and Roll


Nadine Stewart

978-1-3500-6378-5 (online)
978-1-3500-6375-4 (hardback)
978-1-3500-6376-1 (epdf)
Buy this book


Studies of millinery tend to focus on hats, rather than the extraordinarily skilled workers who create them. American Milliners and their World sets out to redress the balance, examining the position of the milliner in American society from the 18th to the 20th century. Concentrating on the struggle of female hat-makers to claim their social place, it investigates how they were influenced by changing attitudes towards women in the workplace.

Drawing on diaries, etiquette books, trade journals, and contemporary literature, Stewart illustrates how making hats became big business, but milliners’ working conditions failed to improve. Taking the reader from the Industrial Revolution of the 1760s to the sexual revolution of the 1960s, and from Belle Epoque feathers to elegant cloches and Jackie Kennedy's pillbox hat, the book offers a new insight into the rise and fall of a fashionable industry.

Beautifully illustrated and packed with original research, American Milliners and their World blends fashion history and anthropology to tell the forgotten stories of the women behind some of the most iconic hats of the last three centuries.

Table of contents