Hats Off to Women in Science!

Today is "National Hat Day." As a fan of stylish head coverings, I think it is a great idea. And as a fan of extraordinary female scientists, I thought of some unusual headgear examples from the photographs in the Smithsonian Institution Archives collections.

Chemist Wanda Margarite Kirkbride Farr (b. 1895] sitting in lab. She was Director of the Cellulose L

At The Bigger Picture, we typically celebrate these women for their professional accomplishments, such as in the weekly  Women in Science Wednesday posts and more in-depth during Women's History Month. Today, however, let us also celebrate their sense of style and the many types of hats they donned.  

The style award must go to cancer researcher, Elise Depew Strang L'Esperance, M.D. Dr. L’Esperance was a pioneer in cancer treatment for women and in 1951 she and Catherine Macfarlane were joint recipients of the prestigious Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award.  Her elegant, sweeping hat coincidentally echoed the design of the statue atop the award. 

Elise Depew Strang L'Esperance (1878-1959), Cornell University, shown here in 1951 with her Lasker C

Fieldwork in archeology, geology, and biology often involves many days and weeks in the sun. My favorite practical example is the wide-brimmed hat of science journalist, Emma Reh, who reported on archaeological expeditions in Mexico during the 1930s. The brim of what appears be a leather hat would have certainly protected her from the intense Mexican sun.

Science journalist Emma Reh (1896-1982), Acc. 90-105 - Science Service, Records, 1920s-1970s, SIA200

Whether you're a hat fan or not, you can appreciate the amazing things these women accomplished. If you are a fan, delight in the fashion below!

 

Leave a Comment

Produced by the Smithsonian Institution Archives. For copyright questions, please see the Terms of Use.