Valentine the Hatter

Discussion in 'Hats' started by DaveProc, Sep 14, 2020.

  1. DaveProc

    DaveProc Practically Family

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    At the request of @BobHufford I have done a little research on Valentine the Hatter.
    Valentine Patrick McMenamin was born in Pennsylvania in 1882. We worked for Stetson for 7 years. He had multiple shops in Tacoma Wa eventually opening a shop in Los Angeles.
    He died in LA in 1951 004669787_01082.jpg 005245843_00875.jpg death.JPG headstone.jpg val 1.jpg
     

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    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020

  2. This is super stuff, Dave. I’ve wanted one since seeing Bowen’s.
     
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  3. DaveProc

    DaveProc Practically Family

    Messages:
    694
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    1910-1917

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  4. DaveProc

    DaveProc Practically Family

    Messages:
    694
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    1920s

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  5. DaveProc

    DaveProc Practically Family

    Messages:
    694
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    1930s

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  6. DaveProc

    DaveProc Practically Family

    Messages:
    694
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    1940s

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  7. DaveProc

    DaveProc Practically Family

    Messages:
    694
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    1950s

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  8. DaveProc

    DaveProc Practically Family

    Messages:
    694
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    I can't buy all the hats I would like, but I love doing this type of research. My little way of contributing to the Lounge :)
     
  9. This is a huge contribution. Long after most of our posts on some hat we’ve bought have been forgotten people will be using your research. This is the stuff that really sets The Lounge apart! Thank you.
     
  10. Great sleuthing Dave!

    I've posted this before. Valentine not only worked for Stetson. He was indentured to them!

    The story of Valentine the Hatter:

    Valentine Patrick McMenamin, was a hat maker. Val was born in Philadelphia in 1882. His father died when Val was young, so Val began working in a factory that made army uniforms to help support the family (often coming home with blue hands and arms from the die used to color the fabric). From 1899 to 1903, Val was an apprentice for the John B. Stetson company to learn the “art, trade and mystery of felt hat finishing,” earning $2.00 per week. One of John’s most important possessions was the original indenture paper that Val signed at the beginning of his apprenticeship (the full text of which is below). Val carried this with him all his life, and when it passed onto John, he had it framed and hung it on his wall. I have a copy of this on the wall of my office at work, and read it periodically to remind myself of Val what life used to be like.

    After his apprenticeship, Val worked for Stetson for several years, then decided to go west, getting himself a six shooter and traveling to Wallace, Idaho as a salesman for Singer sewing machines. John loved telling the story of how Wallace, being a mining town with mainly bars and bordellos, was not the best place to sell sewing machines, so Val became a miner. His first day on the job, an unsuspecting Val experienced a free-fall ride on the elevator down into the mine, an initiation ritual that any new miner was subjected to.

    Val eventually moved to Tacoma, Washington, and started making hats again. It was there that he met his wife, Esther Marie Bockerman, and it was there that John was born on April 1, 1917. In 1924, the family moved to Los Angeles, where Val opened his own hat shop, Valentine the Hatter, which was a fixture near the intersection 9th and Hill Streets for 30 years.

    Val sold his hats both through his hat shop and through an annual catalog (and by advertising in various western-oriented magazines). During the almost 30 years that Val had the shop, hats were as much a part of business attire as a coat and tie, so many of Val’s customers were business men. Periodically, for example, Carl F. Braun brought his executive team into the shop for new hats. In fact, the copy of Val’s indenture that I have hanging on my office wall is one of many copies that were made by Braun, who was fascinated by it when Val showed it to him one year.

    Val also sold hats to western-oriented customers, such as country and western singers, rodeo performers, cowboys and cowboy actors (including Tom Mix, Hopalong Cassidy and Gene Autry). He also made private-label hats sold through other stores. One week when Addie was helping out in the shop, she got an order from a Beverly Hills boutique for a hat for Dale Evans, and another order from a store in Chicago for Roy Rogers.

    The hat Val was most proud of was the white hat that Gary Cooper wore in the film Saratoga Trunk. John called me excitedly a few years ago when he found pictures on the internet of Gary Cooper in the hat, and more remarkably a picture of Picasso wearing what John believed was that hat and pointing a six shooter, both gifts to him from Gary Cooper. After telling me this, he said that he was lucky to have lived into the age of the internet where such pictures could be easily found.

    In my last visit with John, he told me a number of stories about his life, and about Val and Esther. He pointed to one of the hats he had been wearing since probably the 1940s and told me that he was always amazed that Val could take a pair of scissors and trim precisely one fourth of an inch off the brim of any hat without any type of measuring device.

    John wore Val’s hats throughout his life, as evidenced by their appearance in many of our family photos. In one of the photos in the photo gallery, John is wearing a hat (and a suit) while at the beach digging in the sand with my brother. Val’s hats were an integral part of John’s life (and for all the McMenamins).

    Val's Indenture "Contract"

    The following is the full text of Val’s indenture document. My favorite parts are that he couldn’t get married, “play at cards, dice or any other unlawful game,” and that he couldn’t “haunt ale houses, taverns or play houses” while he was an apprentice. And, of course, he was paid $2.00 per week (“when working”). Imagine such an emplyoment contract today.

    This Indenture Witnesseth, that Valentine McMenamin, Born Mar 13th AD 1882 by and with the consent of Mrs. Catherine McMenamin His Mother, hath put himself and by these presents doth voluntarily and of his own free will and accord, put himself Apprentice to THE JOHN B. STETSON COMPANY of Philadelphia, to learn the art, trade and mystery of Felt Hat Finishing, and after the manner of an Apprentice to serve the said JOHN B. STETSON COMPANY for and during, and to the full end and term of his Apprenticeship, which will be the 8th day of December AD 1903 next ensuing.

    The said Masters reserving the right to terminate this agreement, if said Apprentice shall refuse to obey their proper commands, or shall be found physically unable to attend to his work. During all which time the said Apprentice doth covenant and promise that he will serve his Masters faithfully, keep their secrets and obey their lawful commands ; that he will do them no damage himself, not see it done by others without giving them notice thereof ; that he will not waste their goods, nor lend them unlawfully ; that he will not contract matrimony within the said term ; that he will not play at cards, dice, or any other unlawful game, whereby his masters may be injured ; that he will neither buy nor sell, with his own goods or the goods of others, without license from his Masters ; and that he will not absent himself day or night from his Masters’ service without their leave, nor haunt ale houses, taverns, or play houses, but in all things behave himself as a faithful Apprentice ought to do during the said term. He shall conform to and abide by all rules and regulations now in force, and hereafter adopted by his Masters for the government of their Apprentices. And the said Masters on their part do covenant and promise, that they will use the upmost of their endeavors to teach, or cause to be taught or instructed, the said Apprentice in the art, trade and mystery of Felt Hat Finishing, and he shall receive as compensation, when working, two dollars ($2.00) per week.

    It appearing upon satisfactory proof furnished to said JOHN B. STETSON COMPANT that said minor has been properly educated in reading, writing and arithmetic, so as to render further schooling unnecessary.

    And for the true performance of all and singular the covenants and agreements aforesaid, the said parties bind themselves each unto the other firmly by these presents.

    I Witness Whereof, the said JOHN B. STETSON COMPOANY has hereunto affixed its Corporate seal, and individual parties set their hands and seals, done interchangeably. Dated the 28th day of December in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and ninety nine.

    The document was “sealed and delivered in the presence of” two witnesses, and signed by the President and Secretary of the company and by Val and his mother.
     
  11. 1949 with wife Esther and son John.

    Valentine_Hatter_1949_With_Wife_And_Son_John_2.JPG

    Also his grandson...

    Valentine_Hatter_1949_With_Wife_And_Son_John.JPG
     
  12. A couple of my Valentine the Hatter hats (actually ... the second one is my wife's ... a gift from Bowen @AbbaDatDeHat ). The first was a $5 find in a local flea market.

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  13. Valentine made hats for several western movie stars.

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    Valentine_Hatter_Hopalong_Auction_Result_6.JPG

    Valentine_Hatter_Hopalong_Auction_Result_3.JPG
     
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  14. Valentine_Hatter_Lash_Larue_Auction_Result_2.JPG

    Valentine_Hatter_Lash_Larue_Auction_Result_3.JPG

    Valentine_Hatter_Lash_Larue_Auction_Result_1.JPG

    Valentine_Hatter_Lash_Larue_Auction_Result_4.JPG

    Lash_Larue.JPG
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020
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  15. DaveProc

    DaveProc Practically Family

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    Awesome!
     
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  16. This hat was in John Wayne's collection:

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    Valentine_Hatter_John_Ford_Auction_Result_2.JPG

    Valentine_Hatter_John_Ford_Auction_Result_3.JPG

    Not the same hat, obviously:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020
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  17. Mark Humphrey wearing a Valentine the Hatter...

     
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  18. The Gary Cooper / Picasso hat referenced in the "story" above:

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    Stereoscopic photograph of Pablo Picasso in a Stetson by Robert Mouzillat. PICASSO EXHIBITION SHOWS ARTIST IN 3D. They show Picasso with his admiring entourage, relaxing with his family and friends, posing in his crazily cluttered studio, proudly wearing the stetson given to him by a Hollywood actor and being mobbed as a superstar at the French bullfights he enjoyed. And all are in 3D, part of an exhibition where the images will be shown for the first time. The images date from 1957, when Picasso was acknowledged as the world's greatest living artist.

    Note that the "Stetson" is most likely the same hat Cooper gifted Picasso and is a Valentine.
     
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  19. DaveProc

    DaveProc Practically Family

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    These were generously provided by Val's great niece.

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