A Photo Can 'Speak' Volumes

During the time frame just before the outbreak of the Great War (World War I), every lady wanted to dress properly, no matter what her station in life allowed her husband to afford. So was the case for Leila Rue Heinke, born 1890 in Indiana. She had married in 1906 to a young fellow she grew up with, Harry S. Heinke. Her husband was a salesman for a millinery company in Louisville, Kentucky.

One day, about 1912, Leila came up with what she felt would be the ideal fashionable hat in all of Louisville. She presented her idea to her husband and asked that he complete the ultimate design for such a hat according to her requirements. On Leila’s approval, he supervised its construction at the millinery company.

The fashion trend of the day was for ostentatious and luxurious hats, ones that would catch everyone’s attention. Once completed by Harry, she now had a magnificent and stylish hat with its full and bountiful arrangement of white feathers. To compliment her original headdress an appropriate dress was ordered along with match gloves. Leila added her finest jewelry to complete her attire. With such a regal outfit, a photographic portrait was the next order of the day to forever preserve her tasteful appearance and the excellent hat creation by her husband.

Leila enjoyed the praises of others for her good taste in dressing for only a few years. She sadly died on January 13, 1917, of kidney disease. Her husband did continue on in the millinery business for decades, seeing that other ladies were as well-dressed with their hats as possible.

This was an example of taking one photo, investigating the details (interviewing Leila’s niece) and producing a treasured family story.

Photos: Leila Rue Heinke in her fine feather hat.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

Fashion Styles to Date Photos

Occupational Clothing

Granddad’s Job

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