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From the Pillbox to the Turban: Rose Q. Jamieson '63

hat photo
Courtesy of High Fashion Hats: 1950-1980 by Rose Q. Jamieson and Joanne E. Deardorff, Schiffer Publishing Ltd.

As a woman who wears many hats, Rose Quigley Jamieson '63 was a natural to write a book about hat fashion.

The author of High Fashion Hats, 1950-1980, Jamieson was born four
months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. During the war, the government
required the fashion industry to save fabric in order to maximize the materials available for the war effort. But when the conflict ended and the limits on fabric lifted, it became a heyday for fashion. In sixth grade, Jamieson says, she remembers picking out something to wear for Easter. She immediately fell in love with a Christian Dior hat, which marked the dawn of a new fashion era for her.

"Hats were independent works of art with people hand-beading and hand-sewing sequins and feathers to create art," explains Jamieson.

While she spent 30 years teaching at Centenary College in Hackettstown, N.J., fashion is in her blood. Her grandmother was a dressmaker and tailor who beaded her own jewelry and added accents to hats. She grew up with a fashionable family, idolized Queen Elizabeth and her matching hat and dress ensembles, and has enjoyed searching for vintage hats while antiquing with her husband, Paul.

It seemed only fitting for the home economics major to pen a book about fashion. In fact, she began collecting photos and researching the history of hats 25 years ago while studying for a master's degree in education at East Stroudsburg University. Many years later, when Jamieson was ready to compile her research, she consulted friend and English teacher Joanne Deardorff for help. Deardorff served as photographer and formatted the text to the publisher's standards, while Jamieson did all of the writing.

"I would sit at the sofa and set it up like the cockpit of an airplane, and surround myself with books for three-hour intervals," Jamieson says of her writing process. "I would use a lapboard and pillow, and handwrite everything in cursive."

Finally, the original manuscript, which detailed hats from 1840 through 1980, was complete. The duo submitted more than 50 pictures to Schiffer Publishing, including many photos of Jamieson's family members wearing hats. One of her favorite photos, she says, is a 1962 shot of her sister sporting a tall-crowned, wide-brimmed leopard print hat and matching purse.

With so much content, however, the book had to be cut into two sections. Section two, hats of the 1950s to 1980s, was what was ultimately published in 2007.

"My courses (at Albright) really helped me to write my book," Jamieson says. From chemistry class, where she got an overview in organic chemistry, to textiles, where she learned about the composition of man-made materials, to her sewing and fashion courses, she credits much of the book's success to her Albright education.

Her passions don't stop at fashion though. In addition to authoring the book, Jamieson has immersed herself in languages, learning Spanish, German and Italian, and she created and implemented one of the first child development programs at Warren Hills Regional School in Washington, N.J. Which hat will she wear next?

–Kelyn A. C. Stump

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