April 20, 1908 (Monday)
A BIG QUESTION -- SHOULD WOMEN WEAR BIG HATS IN CHURCH? Yesterday's Easter holiday brought out women in their best clothes, including the oversized hats that some favor ((such as the one above, worn by a woman at a millinery convention in 1906). Today's New York Times carries a couple of stories on its front page that present wildly different conclusions about whether or not women should wear such "Merry Widow" hats in church.
BIG HATS ARE GOOD: During a Sunday service at St. John's Catholic Church in St. Louis, some paper lilies adorning the altar caught fire. Even though the fire "blazed fiercely" the parishioners remained calm, with heads bowed in prayer. How on earth could that happen. Well, evidently, the people couldn't SEE the altar. The sightlines for anyone peeking during prayer were blocked by the large hats of women sitting in the front rows, according to the news report. This kept the churchgoers from panicking. A priest and two altar boys put the fire out. The article adds,
Father J. Stepan declares the women's VANITY which makes the wearers of the hats of GREATEST MAGNITUDE seek places in the front of the church where they could be seen to the best advantage, probably SAVED SCORES FROM INJURY.
BIG HATS ARE EVIL: Some churches in Burlington, N.J., have proposed to BAN the wearing of BIG HATS in church. One reason, ushers say, is that pews that are normally large enough to accommodate six people can only hold four when women are wearing hats that are TWO or THREE FEET in DIAMETER. Some pastors say they will ask women to check their hats in the cloakroom. The Rev. M.H. Armor threatened yesterday that "women who wear big hats in the front pews will have to answer for more than one man starting on the downward path." Unless, of course, they are in the front rows at St. John's Catholic Church in St. Louis.
BACKERS OF WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE MAKE SOME NOISE IN BROOKLYN: Yesterday afternoon, a large group of women gathered in the assembly room of the Long Island Business College in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Today's Times says, "The men came in for a good share of criticism throughout the meeting." Here's a little rhyme that the Times presents:
For the long work day,
For the taxes we pay,
For the laws we obey,
We want something to say.