Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal, and the Easter holiday—occurring each year on a March or April Sunday—has become a celebration of new life. A lot of Easter imagery includes baby animals, eggs, green foliage, and colorful flowers. For those who attend church, new clothing for the Easter service is also a tradition. That might include a new suit, new dress, and new shoes, sometimes in bright or pastel spring colors.
Edward Clark and Jeanette Wilson with their three children, Patricia Jean, Edward Clark, Jr. (Butch), and Marsha Lynn, preparing for Easter church services, April 8, 1955. The images appeared in the April 10, 1955, edition of The High Point Enterprise and were taken by Enterprise staff photographer Don Sturkey. The Clarks lived at 706 Ferndale Boulevard.
For women and girls, one of the highlights of Easter clothing was once the “Easter bonnet.” Hats, in general, are less popular now, but some keep the tradition alive. Easter bonnets were often white, lacy affairs decorated with faux flowers and greenery. They were worn by all ages and sometimes became family heirlooms. They were so ubiquitous that in 1960, The High Point Enterprise women’s editor Adelaide Wendler wrote a full-page article titled, “New Hats Herald Coming of Spring.” Several local women modeled their Easter bonnets for the story. Their hats illustrated the great variety of Easter bonnets – as Wendler wrote, the hats could be “tailored or frothy, large or small” and “down to earth” or “lavishly trimmed.”
Mrs. John F. (Elizabeth) Lynch, Mrs. Ed (Jessie) Kemp, and Mrs. Henry A. (Valworth) Foscue were some of the High Point women modeling their Spring hats in the April 10, 1960, edition of The High Point Enterprise.
In the weeks leading up to Easter, the Enterprise was filled with advertisements for Easter bonnets. Local stores sold them at all price points for every type of High Pointer. A March 16, 1900, item of interest in the Enterprise read, “It is about time for women to commence talking about their Easter bonnets.”
Easter bonnet advertisements in The High Point Enterprise from 1913, 1919, 1951, and 1960.
By the 1970s, hats were falling out of fashion favor, but Easter bonnets could still be found for children – and they certainly made for cute photos.
The High Point Enterprise, April 12, 1974.
In 1976, the Enterprise wrote that “the Easter bonnet has faded,” but also printed a recipe for a coffee-flavored Easter bonnet cake with butterscotch icing.
To see more photographs from The High Point Enterprise, check out the Museum’s online collection database. https://hpmuseum.catalogaccess.com/home Go to Advanced Search, and enter “High Point Enterprise Negative” in the Collection Field. This Search brings up some 1200 individual records of photographs taken for The High Point Enterprise between 1949 and 1960. To peruse past copies of The High Point Enterprise, visit the Heritage Research Center on the second floor of the High Point Public Library.
Contributed by Corinne Midgett, Registrar for the High Point Museum. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.