Hats off to Cora!
do you do with a house full of hats? For Cora Shep Williams 25,
the answer was obviousgive them a new home. In fact, Williams
was sure that the best new home for her hats would be the theatre
department of her alma mater.
Williams donated approximately 6070 hatsalmost her entire
collectionto the University. The chapeaus, representing different
styles from the 20s to the 80s, will give an authentic
finishing touch to the costumes and period pieces of future Rowan
For Williams, each hat represents a different chapter in her life.
Theyre like a history of me, said Williams. Back
in the 20s and 30s, people would wear a different hat
with every outfit and always for important occasions. Wherever you
went, you wore a hat.
Many of the hats Williams collected over the years came from a hat
shop in Vineland. Every Saturday while her children were taking
their music lessons, she would spend her time browsing through the
hundreds of hats on display. Of course, every now and then, she
would find one that had to join her wardrobe.
Williams was in one of the first classes to graduate and she still
has many fond memories of riding the steam train every day to school
from Salem. One of her fondest memories of the school was attending
the Christmas Pageant in the Bunce Hall auditorium. She was awe-struck
by the women in elegant red gowns on stage strumming Christmas carols
on harps. For a country girl, that was something special,