Hattie’s Hats

b BOWDEN Hattie

Harriet Bowden, or Hattie Bowden, as she was identified on the back of this cabinet card, was born in 1869 in New York.  Sometime after 1873 her parents, William and Louisa, relocated to Ohio.  In her early twenties, when this photo was taken, Hattie worked for the Western Suspender Company and as a Milliner in R.B. Maxwell’s shop.

Robert B. Maxwell advertised his store in the 1894 Mansfield City Directory as having dry goods, notions, millinery, and cloaks.  In large, bold print at the top of one page, I found the advertisement, “Maxwell’s for Umbrellas. Best and Cheapest.”

b BOWDEN Hattie cu

I wonder if Hattie designed the hat she’s wearing in this photograph.  I think it’s a work of art!  On a side note, does anyone else chuckle at a hat designer named Hattie?

Hattie seemed to disappear after 1897.   Her father passed in 1893, and her mother in 1900.  I feared that she may have died, as well.  Luckily, I found her mother’s obituary and it provided me with the answer.

1900 Jul 30 BOWDEN Louisa OBIT The Marion Star Marion Ohio Pg 2
The Marion Star (OH) ~ July 30, 1900

Hattie married William Franklin Hauck and was living in Marion, Ohio, in 1900.  She had one child, Harry.  She lived to be 69 years old.  I find it quite sad that her obituary doesn’t mention her by name, only as an extension of her husband.

1938 Jun 28 BOWDEN Harriet OBIT The Sandusky Register Oh Pg 2
The Sandusky Register (OH) ~ June 28, 1938

I wanted to add, that I read the fancy script at the bottom of this cabinet card as Poller, or possibly Pollen.  I did a quick search and wasn’t able to locate a photographer by either of those names, but didn’t dig any further.  I normally research photographers as a way to pin down dates, and I was quite confident dating the photo based on Hattie’s fashion and age.  However, I stumbled across the following portrait sketch in the 1891 Mansfield City Directory, and I was able to learn that the photographer was Ezra J. Potter.  His obituary claimed that he was “known as one of the most proficient photographers in northern Ohio.”



Census records
Mansfield, Ohio City Directories
The Marion Star, Marion, Ohio
The Sandusky Register, Sandusky, Ohio
The Mansfield News, Mansfield, Ohio
Find A Grave
Huron County, Ohio Cemetery Inscriptions, by the Huron County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society, published 1997

One thought on “Hattie’s Hats

  1. Hattie was a lovely lady! Her dark dress and umbrella create very nice contrast against the white background. On a side note, in researching commercial photographers, I often notice that they served on local boards or committees. It must have helped their business to do so.

    Liked by 2 people

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