Oh, what an adventure I've had today!

>> 06 November 2011

See this hat on Etsy!
I was originally going to list this post in the "shop" portion of my blog but I simply had to tell you this amazing story of my armchair travels today.  It started when I went to list a vintage hat by American designer and milliner Marian Valle (left) in my Etsy shop.  It's cute, don'tcha think?

Well anyway, one of my favorite things to do when I offer up a vintage gem is to do a little research about the item and share the story of how it came to be.  So I type in "Marion Valle" and hit "I'm feeling lucky" and the first thing to surface is another hat by Valle that's also featured on Etsy. Isn't that funny?

Milliner Marion Valle's Spring Collection

I'm starting to really like Miss Valle's designs, but I still have no information on her so I dig a little deeper into my search and up pops this old news story from the Montreal Gazette dated March 22, 1934 in which Valle is interviewed for her new spring collection of hats. She is quoted as saying: "The upturn of our spirits is making itself felt in an upturn in our hat lines as well."

I continue  reading this edition of the paper when  I come across this amazing story about how Catherine Theresa Carr,  a 24 year-old Irish domestic from Belfast, spent eleven gruelling days hidden in a lifeboat on the ocean freighter Sulairia without food or water as she attempted to illegally immigrate to Canada.  She barely survived the ordeal and was taken into custody by immigration officials who promptly threw her in a hospital to recover from the effects of frostbite and extreme exposure upon docking in Halifax before deporting her.  The thing that fascinated me the most was that she said she was without hope with the prospect of being returned to Ireland and that she willingly suffered her hardships to come to America because back home "they work you to death."

A little more searching, and I learned from DIPPAM, an online virtual archive relating to the history of Ireland, and its migration experience from the 18th to the late 20th centuries that Miss Carr had made it back to Liverpool via the Cunard liner "Scythia".  Her story ends there, but still I wonder: what happened to her after that?  She would be 101 years old if she were alive today.  Oh, I'm so curious!

Laura Ingalls, American Aviator
At any rate, I continue to read the paper and learn about American aviator Laura Ingalls (not to be confused with author Laura Ingalls Wilder of the "Little House" series of books).  Laura Ingalls was was the first woman to fly over the Andes. She also made the first solo flight around South America in a landplane, the first flight by a woman from North America to South America, and in so doing, set a woman's distance record of 17,000 miles.

Lilyan Tashman, Actor
Finally, on the same day that these other previously aforementioned women made the news, I come to learn that glamorous movie star Lilyan Tashman died at the young age of 37 due to cancer.  A little more searching reveals that Tashman was a lesbian who had an affair with Greta Garbo!

I must say: phew!  It's been quite a day surfing  the net and learning all about what happened on March 22, 1934 just so I could list my pretty little chapeau on Etsy.   I'll wrap this up with a clip from 1931 film "Girls About Town" (below) featuring Tashman and directed by George Cukor.


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