One woman’s quest for ‘Hatpins’ on postcards and ephemera

In 1981, I was attending a North Carolina Postcard club meeting. The program that day was being given by Hazel Leler, a Halloween postcard collector. But on that day, she chose to talk about her collection of cards that showed groups of people, for example, family groups, club groups and even school groups. She had placed all of her cards onto slides and was showing them on a rather large screen. Suddenly something caught my eye and I yelled to stop the showing. As I had just recently begun collecting hatpins I was fascinated and excited to see a hatpin on the screen.

Hazel was also excited and said she would look more closely to the card when she got home. That evening, she called and said it wasn’t a hairpin after all and that picture was a classroom and the teacher had a pencil stuck in her hair.

She said, however, that she did have a postcard that showed a hatpin and she would sent it to me as a gift. It was a Harrison Fisher card with a lady holding a hatpin in her mouth as she was placing another into her hat!

And that did it … I was off and running to collect postcards that displayed hatpins somewhere on the card.

But where could I find them? Shortly after that my husband Jerome and I attended a huge postcard convention at the Statler Hotel in New York City. I visited with several dealers asking if they had any cards that showed a hatpin. And I was laughed at –they all told me that they had cards with baby bottles, hats, etc., but no hatpins.

About 30 minutes later, a call came over the loudspeaker asking for the lady who was looking for hatpin postcards to return to one of the dealer’s booths. There I saw several postcards. I do believe that from that moment on, many dealers now have a “Hatpin” category as well as hats.

These cards can also be found in greeting cards, comic books, hats, signed artist cards, just to name a few sources. I’m said that Hazel Leler is no longer around to see what she started so many years ago. Although I was able to thank her many times over the years after she moved away.