Backstage at the Goldstein: The Gift of a Hat


I came across this delightful and touching story of an American GI buying a Paris hat for his wife in 1944 when I was working on a large files project at the Goldstein Museum of Design, which is on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota.

Tres chic!

Tres chic!

I don’t remember now whether I first saw this handwritten account by the husband, Thomas McCart, and photographs of his wife, Melva McCart, in a file folder or in the Goldstein’s image database. At any rate, the story stuck with me when I came across it earlier this year. It deserves a wider audience.

This is a perfect little story of a giver, a gift, and a recipient.MadameSuzyHat3 (364x460)MadameSuzyHat1 (307x460)MadameSuzyHat4 (353x460)MadameSuzyHat2 (307x460)MadameSuzyHat5 (353x460)

suzyhat (274x460)

Did she make her suit?

Look at that shoulder line!

LabelMadameSuzy (307x460)

Even the label design is beautiful.

To see these and more photographs up close, go to the Goldstein Museum of Design database:

  • Click here to go to the home page of the Goldstein Museum of Design
  • Click on the tab Collection
  • Click on Search the Collection
  • In the Word Search box, type McCart
  • The record for this hat will appear. Click on the photo of the hat
  • You will see more detail than you can see in this post.

All photographs by the Goldstein Museum of Design.

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4 thoughts on “Backstage at the Goldstein: The Gift of a Hat

  1. What a great WWII story. We have stories like that as well, as my father and mother (secretly married in Glasgow, Scotland when my father was just finished with medical school there in 1944 and had to return to the US and my mother could not get out of the UK) were separated by the war and my father, who had returned home, found the US in much better shape than the UK. He used to send my mother nylons and lengths of fabric so that she could make herself clothing (because they were still under the coupon rationing system over there and as a nurse she could not afford to get any fabrics or clothing). He even used to send her the newest and most interesting fabric technologies, even sending her a length of suiting which was made out of a brand new cloth, where the fibers were made out of …milk.

  2. What a great post this time of year… the thoughtfulness and care that went into such an endeavor…. it looks as though she cherished it.

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