Hats On, Ladies

Annie Stocinski was arrested on December 18, 1909 for larceny from a shop near the “Boston Stone,” a tourist attraction in that city. She was arrested with another person whose name and number went unrecorded.

This copy of Annie’s mugshot, which was likely taken by the police in Boston, was part of the collection of the McGuire & White Detective Agency of Chicago. The agency would have kept the card on file, in case Annie was arrested in the Windy City and they needed to refer to her photo, description and criminal history.

We know a few things about Annie from the back of her carte de visite. She had a sallow complexion, blue eyes and dark hair. She stood 5 foot 6 inches tall and weighed 125 pounds. She was 33 years old and married. I’m pretty sure her name was misspelled. I found out nothing more about her and I’m hoping this means her shoplifting career was short-lived.

Annie’s photo was cut down and doesn’t fill the front of the card, as a CDV photo normally would. There’s something that looks like the feathers of someone else’s the hat hanging in the upper left corner of the photo. This is very weird. Could it be that the police lined up a group of women they’d arrested and took one photo, saving the cost and trouble of taking individual photos? But that other woman must have been a lot taller than Annie, who wasn’t short. Maybe the woman was standing on a platform, but why?

Mysteries, but no answers.

One other thing we know: Annie had on a fabulous hat.

Ladies wore hats in the early 20th century—the fancier the better. The hats were festooned with flowers, ribbons, bows, lace, leaves and a variety of bird feathers. Sometimes the entire bird (stuffed, mind you) made an appearance. Things got so out of control with feathers, beaks and bird bodies on hats and other garments that laws were passed prohibiting the hunting of migratory birds.

In the heyday of hats, a lady simply didn’t leave the house without one, and no one expected her to remove it because she’d been arrested. There are plenty of mugshots of ladies in their magnificent hats. Here’s a selection, taken between 1900 and 1915, at San Quentin State Prison, courtesy of the California State Archives.

12 thoughts on “Hats On, Ladies

    1. Up to the middle of the last century, inmates at San Quentin serving long sentences could have photos, with a tie taken for their families every five years. Perhaps there was a similar rule for women. (Women were housed in the ‘hospital” at San Quentin until the 1930s…)

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m not sure if it was lax rules or the fact that women in public generally kept their hats on and it was considered improper for a lady to be without one. But yes, made for much more interesting photos! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.