The following books are in THE VILLAGE HAT SHOP collection housed at our headquarters location in San Diego, California. We may sell a few of these title in our BOOKS THAT WE LOVE section. You might also enjoy perusing our section entitled Hats and Children's Literature.
By James Lilliefors
Clerisy Press, 2009
The book’s introduction, a lovely little memoir, actually had me laughing out loud. In the first chapter, Mr. Liiliefors transitions from memoirist to baseball historian without missing a beat. The writing is snappy as the author glides from social history, to the history of various businesses associated with the ball cap, to ball cap yarns and myths, to interviews (with people and things, both real and imagined), to multiple-choice tests, etc.
Lilliefors’ explanation of the advent of the "Cap Revolution" as a confluence of separate cultural currents reminded me of Neil Steinberg’s debunking of the myth that JFK killed the hat business when he became President [ Hatless JACK: The President, the Fedora, and the History of an American Style]. Steinberg, like Lilliefors, describes a series of simultaneous occurring events in American history that led to hatlessness and places Kennedy’s aversion to headwear as only one episode in this context. These hat history tipping points – the 1980s for the ball cap - are fascinating (at least to me). As I was "in the game" for the Cap Revolution, reading this book was a bit like reading my own history. And of course I enjoy that [reviewer disclosure: I actually show up in "Freedom Of Choice", page 93].
Mr. Lilliefors approach is not as scholarly as, say, Fred Miller Robinson’s THE MAN IN THE BOWLER HAT: His History and Iconography. But, it is more substantial than many of the simple, purely anecdotal books on hats, like Texas Bix Bender’s small book on the cowboy hat, HATS and the Cowboys Who Wear Them. Ball Cap Nation at times takes itself rather seriously, explaining a real historical phenomenon with important implications, but then will quickly reel itself in and get back to pure fun and hokum. Lilliefors has a quirky sense of humor and it "pops up" – "out of left field" – throughout the book. Sometimes this nuttiness makes its way to an entire section, like the story of "The Cap Whisperer" or BCN’s "exclusive" interview with the New York Yankees cap.
Without a doubt, this is the most complete book to date on the iconic Ball Cap. On that basis alone, it becomes an instant classic book on the subject of hats. For readers of Ball Cap Nation, cranking the brim and donning a simple ball cap will forever be more complex. . . and more fun.
By Tom Miller. William Morrow & Co., 1986
My lifelong interest in travel literature began when, as a child, I read Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas's account of his travels among the Kurdish People of the Middle East. Miller's book is a good read on traveling in Ecuador (where the best panama hats are made), written by a professional writer in this genre (ON THE BORDER, TRADING WITH THE ENEMY: TRAVELS THROUGH CASTRO'S CUBA, (among others). This "hat classic" (my opinion), is a first-hand account as Miller follows the making of these hats from the growing and harvesting of the panama hat plant (cardoluvica palmata), through the process of curing and preparation for weaving, the weaving itself, the various markets along the way, the chain of distribution of the hat bodies, their exportation around the world, the making of finished hats in a North American hat factory, and finally the sale to a San Diego retail hat store. The story ends when the final customer buys a panama hat in the retail store. Reading this book cannot help but seal one's appreciation for this materiel de resistance of the straw hat business. Buy a Panama Hat
By Martine Buchet with photographs by Laziz Hamani. Editions Assouline, 1995.
I picked up this large format book, 12 in. x 9 in., in Quito, Ecuador but have since learned that it has become available through U.S. distributors (I bought a second copy from Amazon.com in fact). The fabulous photographs and illustrations can't help but develop an appreciation for this classic hat making material, cardoluvica palmata. Because we are based in southern California, Panama Hats
By Miguel Ernesto Dominguez, Banco Central del Ecuador, 1991
What we call "Panama hats" in N. America and Europe, are called "sombreros de paja toquilla" in the country of their origin, Ecuador. This 1991 Spanish language edition covers the history and economics of this very important industry in Ecuador. It also contains numerous interesting photographs of people practicing their craft and business. [This volume was a gift to The Village Hat Shop BOOKS ON HATS collection from Tom Miller, who used the book as a resource in the writing of his travel and hat industry classic, THE PANAMA HAT TRAIL]
By Maria Leonor Aquilar de Tamariz, Centro Interamericano de Artesanias y Artes Populares, CIDAP, 1988
This Spanish language book is about Ecuador's Panama hat industry ("paja toquilla", not "Panama", to the Ecuadorians). The book begins with a discussion of the material, Carludovica Palmata, used the the weaving of the hats. It further covers the history of the hats, weaving techniques, etc. The book has a good glossary on terms used in the Panama hat trade.
[Like EL SOMBRERO DE PAJA TOQUILLA, this volume was a gift from Tom Miller, author of THE PANAMA HAT TRAIL, and used as a reference in the writing of his travel and hat industry classic]
By Neil Steinberg, PLUME (Penquin Group), 2004.
In our business there is an awful lot of hand-wringing about the good old days when all well-dressed men wore hats. Hatters opine and whine about President Kennedy's refusal to wear hats resulting in a devastating effect on the industry. Neil Steinberg in Hatless JACK sets the record straight and debunks the assumption that JFK ruined the hat business. Instead, Steinberg places Kennedy's aversion to hats in the context of a trend in hatlessness that had been gaining momentum since the turn of the previous century. This is a well-researched and entertaining book, full of information and anecdotes pertaining to the historical importance of hats in American culture. Hatless JACK: The President, the
The fact that millinery can be sculpture sitting atop one's head can be a problem if the wearer isn't satisfied being simply a pedestal. Eugenia Kim understands that hats can fit comfortably and may even be practical as well as venture into the realm of fine art. This delightful book will satisfy the whimsy of both hat lovers and hat makers. Kim is a serious milliner who adds humor to her work's objective (chapter titles are also a hoot e.g. "Cloche Encounters" and "The Prodigal Sun Hat"). The book comes complete with instructions and patterns for making the featured hats, hat care information, a feather guide, and an abbreviated glossary.
By R. Turner Wilcox. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1945
Out of print since 1945, this book is the prize of our collection. Not easy to find, this "classic hat book" traces the history of hats and headdress in the Western world starting with "Ancient Egypt" and ending with "United States, 1940-1944." Between are 330 pages, 193 of which are full page illustrations of hats worn by men and women throughout history. A great resource for theater people, names and descriptions are included with the hats pictured on heads.
By Fred Miller Robinson. The University of North Carolina Press, 1993.
Professor Robinson uses the bowler hat (or Derby) as the medium in understanding modernism and the modern world. Introduced in 1950 (see MR LOCK OF ST. JAMES STREET below) the hat had rather significant meaning to the emerging middle class. If Wilcox (THE MODE IN HATS AND HEADDRESS) had it right when he wrote "head attire in both sexes have from prehistoric times served to establish the individual's rank or position in society, to impress the lowly and to challenge the enemy" then Robinson's thesis of the bowler hat's profound meanings may have validity in understanding modern Western man. He furthermore explores the hat's resonance in art and literature. Browse our Bowler Hats
By Debbie Henderson
[Review coming Soon]
Xlibris Corporation, 2000
This romance novel is set in a small New England town in the late 19th Century. The story revolves around Emma, the unfortunate young wife of the overbearing town mayor, Emma's friends, and the owner of a new hat shop in town, Frederick Ash (a hat store owner named Fred!). This new millinery shop and its handsome and promiscuous hatter have a profound effect on Hollybrook (and the women enjoy their beautiful new hats).
By Colin Richards. Bonanza Books, 1966.
The title, and the title alone, qualifies this book for inclusion in this bibliography. The book is about what the subtitle indicates and has nothing to do with hats per se. The book discusses the role played by British immigrants and capital in the story of the American West during the 19th Century. I include the book here only as a "heads up" because it often comes up while searching for books on hats.Browse our Bowler Hats
A calendar with illustrations by Pamela Kogen and calligraphy by Paul Shaw. Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1999.
Granted, this is an unusual entry for a bibliography on hats. However, the 14 pen-and-ink illustrations, colored with watercolor show an eclectic and broad assortment of hats. The hat as art object is beautifully expressed in this calendar for the year 2000.
Imagine a film about an article of apparel. Who would dare make a film about a single category of attire? And what inanimate thing that people wear can carry an entire documentary? Well, the answers are Andee Kinzy and hats. Yes, hats. Hats matter and have always mattered. The power and influence of hats is well documented (see the BOOKS ON HATS bibliography at VillageHatShop.com). Anyone who thinks about this for a minute will realize its truth. Whether acting as protection from the elements or as a measure of rank or religious devotion, hats have always played a major role in human history and culture. But Kinzy's film, What Is It About Hats, is not so much about what Christian Dior alleged, "Without hats there would be no civilization" but rather novelist Margaret Atwood's sentiment, "I myself have twelve hats, and each one represents a different personality. Why be just yourself?" Subtitled A Documentary About the People Under the Brim this work addresses a most compelling quality of headwear - its ability to transform the individual wearer. Hats can and do uplift one's spirit. Hats can and do change or express one's mood. One can either hide in a hat or call more attention to oneself. This film is at its best when these themes are being explored. When hat devotees in the film say things like, "I think if we wore more hats we would not have as much Prozac", or "Hats are a wonderful thing for shy people", they are not being factious. We may at first chuckle when we hear comments like these, but it's the realization that there may be something here worth seriously considering - bona fide psychology - that gives the film its legs. In future efforts, I'd like to see Kinzy delve deeper into the transforming qualities of hats. When the movie switches to "How to Shop For Hats" or "How to Wear Hats" it left me wanting more of this thought provoking substance. But don't let that deter you from seeing this film. What Is It About Hats tackles a unique theme; and it is filled with interesting hats and entertaining hat stories. If you are a hat lover, a costume or cultural historian, a psychologist, a shopper, a sculptor, or a documentary film aficionado, this film is for you. I eagerly await more films that explore this heady issue.
William Reynolds and Ritch Rand
Gibbs Smith, Publisher, Salt Lake City
The cowboy hat is an American icon. [I include it at the "Iconic Hats" section. The link can be found at the column on the left.] This book expands upon that theme. If you have an interest in the culture of the American West, the story of the evolution of this hat style, great pictures - old and new - of both hats and people wearing them, then you'll like this book. The book credits John B. Stetson with inventing the hat. Although some question how much this is fact versus myth (or rather true invention versus modification of existing headgear), I enjoyed the Stetson story as told by Reynolds and Rand.
By Stella V. Ramiasz, 1982.
Primarily a how-to-make-hats book including patterns and real swatches of fabrics and lining materials. I particularly find useful the very thorough, 25 page alphabetical glossary of hat styles from Agal ("The thick cords of wool which hold the cloth headdress of the desert people's Kaffiyeh in place") to Zucchetto ("Ecclesiastical calotte, skull cap").
By Harry Torczyner. Abradale Press/Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1979.
Because of artist Rene Magritte's use of the bowler hat in so many of his works, no self respecting collection of books on hats would be without at least one of the many books on Magritte's work. The above book happens to be the one that we own however any of the many good books on Magritte will have plates and/or photographs of his prolific work with bowler hats as an important part of the subject matter. Why did he use the bowler hat so often as an image in his work? you ask. Read THE MAN IN THE BOWLER HAT by Fred Miller Robinson.Browse our Bowler Hats
By Georgia Helm. Meteor, 1992.
A trashy paperback novel with a title and main character, hatter Owen Dixon ("the last of a rare breed: a hatter with an eye for the ladies") that qualifies it for inclusion in this list. I have only read the good parts-no review.
Hearst Books, 1994.
This small volume profiles 4 modern milliners and includes some nice photographs and little textual ditties on women's hats. A nice little book for the bathroom side table (better than those stupid joke books).
By Brandon Marie Miller. Lerner Publications Company, 1999.
This book traces the story of American fashion. The dozens of drawings and photographs show Americans wearing hats throughout the centuries as was de rigueur until 1960 when John Kennedy took his hat off on the day of his inauguration. The Hat Act of 1732, which forbade the export of beaver felt hats made in the colonies, is also briefly discussed.
By Barbara Braun (Editor), Peter G. Roe (Editor)
Many wonderful examples of Amazonian headdresses are included in this beautifully produced volume. This book has much meaning to me because of the Cofan Indian Crown in my personal collection that I bartered for while on the Aqua Rico River in the upper Amazon. (Perhaps at a later date I'll tell the story of this "hat adventure" in detail at the villagehatshop.com website).
By Duncan Clarke. Chartwell Books, Inc, 1998.
The large format of this book, 14 inches by 10 inches, allows for some outstanding, full page, detailed photographs. From my point of view, chapter four "Displaying The Head, African Hats and Headdresses", is worth the price of the book. Check out the picture of the chief of the people of the Unyoro kingdom in present day Uganda in the HAT FACTS section of this web site for a sampling.
By Mary Jo Arnoldi and Christine Kreamer. Fowler Museum of Cultural History, University of California Los Angeles, 1995.
African hats are great! This beautiful, scholarly book shows and tells you why. In conjunction with the grand opening of our Hillcrest, San Diego location in 1997 we presented our first museum-style show where African Hats and Headdress was the theme. We have some great pieces from this collection available for sale-check the UNIQUE AND COLLECTIBLE HATS section of this site to view some. Address inquiries to 3821 4th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103 or call 619-683-5533.
By Xi Yixi. China Film Press, 1989.
I picked this up while in China in 1991. With photographs, illustrations and text this book reviews what the title denotes. The text is in English but I have no idea regarding this book's availability for purchase in the USA.
By Terence Terry. Lark Books, 1998.
This is another crafts book where, as the title implies, a reader gets tips on how to spiff up their old hat. The book is organized into about 20 chapters, with excellent pictures, taking one step-by-step through makeovers of specific hats. Amateur milliners as well as people who enjoy fun and different crafts projects will appreciate this book.
By Tomi Ungerer
Hat as personified super-hero.
By Rodney Smith and Leslie Smolan
This attractive, artsy book comes with a grosgrain hat trim book mark. Its black and white photographs, poems, hat ditties from literature and essays treat the hat as an object of art. For example: "Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her: If you can bounce high, bounce for her too, "Till she cry Lover, gold-hatted, high bouncing lover, I must have you" F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.
By Paul Amber, grandfather of nine. Succinic Press, no date.
This little pamphlet explains how to make three different styles of hats from the daily newspaper.
Compiled by Suzanne Pufpaff. Stony Lonesome Press, 1995.
Two reproduced manuals, one from the 1829 (author unknown) and the other first published in 1868 by John Thomson. Part learned craft, part "black magic" personal recipe, felt making and the resulting quality of the product produced varies considerably. An interesting and esoteric book tracing the state of the art in the mid-19th Century. Even today, all felt hats are not alike! Be certain your hat seller knows what she or he is selling you.
Edited by Mario Carrieri, Giuseppe Trevisani, and Massimo Vignelli. Arte Grafiche A. Pizzi, 1957
A retrospective of the hat as art with the world famous Borsalino Hat Company's 100th birthday as the motivation. Wonderful plates of fine art reproductions with the subjects in hats highlight this book. We are proud importers of Borsalino hats in this country. Browse our Borsalino hat section
1938-1998 by Nigel Watson. Nigel Watson Histories, 1998.
Starting with the Kangol beret in 1938, this thin soft-cover volume traces the history of Kangol Hats and Caps, Britain's best known cloth headwear manufacturer. (You know, the hats with the kangaroo logo). Buy a Kangol hat from the huge Kangol selection at www.VillageHatShop.com.
By Bill Zehme. Harper Collins, 1997.
Although not about hats per se (but rather an OLD Blue Eyes biography) the title and the many photos with Sinatra in hats make this volume eligible for inclusion in this bibliography (I'm the judge). "No one wore a hat like Dad did" says Nancy Sinatra in the Style chapter. Take a look at our Sinatra hat
By Michael Cunningham & Craig Marberry, Doubleday, 2000
This book started a minor sensation inspiring plays (I saw the play - same title, CROWNS - at the San Diego Repertory Theatre), merchandise, television shows, and a new synonym for the sensational hats that African American women have been wearing to church for generations. This book is yet another example of the power, importance, and historical significance of headwear. As Lenora Inez Brown titled her article in the Playgoer's Guide "A Hat Is Never Just A Hat".
By Hilda Amphlett. Richard Sadler, Publisher, 1974.
This is a rather scholarly work on the history of hats covering the past two thousand years. The arrangement is chronological, by century. If one's interest is identifying or organizing headdress by country of origin, this book is particularly useful as the illustrations include the country where the hat was worn along with the drawing. I am always impressed when the same author does a book's text and illustrations, as is the case with this work (see Sibley's bird book if you really want to be blown away).
By Susie Hopkins. Chartwell Books, Inc., 1999.
This coffee table style book is organized by decade and full of illustrations and photographs. Because of similar books already in our collection (e.g. HATS by Colin McDowell or HATS IN VOGUE) that were published earlier, this 1999 contribution didn't add much to the genre for us, but if you don't have one of the similar books, this is a good one to collect. I've seen it around very inexpensively too.
By Colin McDowell. Rizzoli, 1992
This coffee table size and style book reviews its subject by hat style with a bias towards the hats of the UK. Big photographs and good illustrations take the reader through a brief history of top hats, boaters, bowlers, ball caps (the only style that America can lay claim to creating), fezzes, etc.
By Ruth Edwards Kilgour. Robert M. McBride, Co, 1958.
Just when I thought that I knew all of the key books written about hats in English in the 20th Century, along comes this great find. Before and after WWII, Ruth Edwards Kilgour spent 22 years and traveled 160,000 miles at a cost of $100,000 (in those days!) to collect what may very well be the greatest collection of hats in the world. She writes well too. The book, organized by continent, is a travelogue as well as an expression of her great appreciation and fount of information about hats and headdress. More than 150 black and white photographs illustrate every hat described. My only criticism is the quality of the photographs, which judged by today's standards, falls short.
By Debbie Henderson
A short and well written history covering one of the icons of headwear. Chock full of good illustrations, Ms. Henderson devotes one chapter to the history of the top hat and another to its manufacturing. The appendix discusses how silk top hats and collapsible opera hats are made. The book includes a good bibliography for those who want to pursue this topic in greater depth.
By Lillian Baker. Self published, 1993.
This 200 page compendium complete with photographs, illustrations, history (including legal rulings and laws regarding the hat pin's use as a weapon), etc. is the hat pin fancier's bible. Although Lillian is deceased her husband still may have some copies available for sale. He can be reached at: 15237 Chanera Ave., Gardena, CA 90249-4042, USA Take a look at our hatpins for sale
Well received by vintage clothing collectors for its unique presentation, this book chronicles the history of hats and bonnets, accompanied by vintage photographs of women wearing the items. A must-have for collectors of vintage hats and clothing.
By Frank Whitbourn. William Heinemann Ltd, 1971.
It is hard to imagine that a single retail store that began in 1676 and moved its location once, in 1764, could still be in business today. In fact, Lock & Co. at #6 St. James Street in London is such a store. Whitbourn, a relative of the proprietors, writes of the twists and turns of the shop's history. I found most interesting the story of the advent of The Bowler Hat (a.k.a. The Derby or The Coke): A game-keeper customer, William Coke, wanted a hard felt protective riding hat for safety-sake while chasing poachers in his game preserve. Mr. Lock accommodated his customer and a great hat was born (see THE MAN IN A BOWLER HAT in this bibliography). We at The Village Hat Shop also have hats made in response to customer's designs. Last year we introduced "The Rock," "The Reggie," and "The Trent" for three of our discerning clients.
By Debbie Henderson. Wild Goose Press, 2001.
1865-1970 by John B. Snyder, Schiffler Publishing, 1997.
Do you have an old Stetson hat and wonder what it's worth? This book may help. It also contains a history of the company, photographs, as well as a section on women's hats manufactured by Stetson. The section on care and handling of hats is potentially useful to VHS customers and I include it here for you edification. Buy Stetson Hats
A Pepin Press Design Book, 2000.
This a funny book in that it is without much organization of its content. A one-page introduction, repeated in five languages, is the extent of the text. About 350 pages follow with drawings of hats, mostly for women. The book reminds me of a CD ROM manual of icons that correspond with digital images that can be accessed with accompanying software. There is a simple key in the back of the book that doesn't provide much information. Someone (like a designer or milliner) who simply wants headdress illustrations may find this book useful.
By Maureen Reilly and Beth Detrich. Schiffler, 1997.
This is the most complete book of its kind on modern women's hats. A 256 page, hard cover, 11 in. by 8 in. book, it is full of information and photography. It also makes the bold step of attaching values to vintage hats. I say "bold" because in my experience this is a very immature and capricious market. Beware! Our second museum-style show at our Hillcrest, San Diego location was Women's Hats of the 20th Century where we presented a retrospective of vintage hats. Following the show, we had a silent auction and sale that had bids all over the place compared to my expectations.
By Joy Shields. Clarkson Potter, 1991.
This is one of a number of millinery books for both hat aficionados and collectors. Chapters are arranged by decades starting with the 20's and ending with the 60s. I particularly liked the "Hat Lore" and "Glossary" sections. Serious millinery students will appreciate the good "Selected Bibliography."
By Desire Smith. Schiffler Publishing, 1996
Another book on women's hats that makes a stab at valuing vintage hats (see also WOMENS HATS OF THE 20TH CENTURY). Arranged by hat material (e.g. straw, felt, etc.), what I like best about this book is the information, including an index, on millinery labels. Good labels like Lilly Dache, Mr. John, Frank Olive and Sally Victor sewn on original creations are, of course, the most valuable.
By Christina Probert. Abbeville Press, 1981.
The title refers specifically to Vogue Magazine and divides this thumbnail history and pictorial on women's hats by decade starting with "The Teens" and ending with "The Seventies."
By Deborah Chase. HarperCollins, 1999.
The dusk jacket cover adds "Everything you need to know about buying, collecting, wearing, and caring for them" The table of contents is organized by clothing accessory item such as cuff links, derbys or fishnet stockings. About 25 of the entries are hats. The primary orientation of the book is on how to wear a clothing accessory item i.e. with what kind and color of other apparel, etc. Although not an area that I find of particular interest myself, others may like this advice book.