M973.91.14.1 | Hatpin holder

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Hatpin holder
1900-1920, 20th century
14.7 cm
Gift of Mrs. William Van Horne
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Holder (7)
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Keys to History

At the turn of the 20th century, hats became very elaborate. They were styled with wide brims and piled with ribbons, artificial flowers, feathers and sometimes even complete birds.

The hatpins used to hold these hats to a woman's hair-do were also ornamented - trimmed with semi-precious stones, pearls, beads and filigree metal. The pins were very long, usually about 25 to 32 cm. Apart from securing the hat, they made a convenient weapon for self-defence in emergency situations!

This hatpin stand is an example of the many small decorative accessories so loved by the Victorians. When holding a number of hat pins, it must have resembled a small bouquet of flowers.

  • What

    This is a decorative, sterling-silver hatpin stand that would have been kept near the mirror of the dressing table in a lady's boudoir.

  • Where

    In her boudoir, a lady would select the appropriate hatpin to complete her outfit. Hatpins were considered a decorative accessory.

  • When

    From 1895 to 1915, long hatpins were required to anchor the lavishly trimmed hats to the bouffant coiffeurs being worn.

  • Who

    This hatpin holder was acquired from the home of Mrs. William Van Horne, whose husband was the grandson of Sir William Cornelius Van Horne (1843-1915), the entrepreneur who built the Canadian Pacific Railway.