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THE VERY BEST HATTIE-CARNEGIE.COM STORIES TO REMEMBER......

 

Hattie-Carnegie.com was launched four years ago on the 3rd of October in 2003.

The website has been a true labor of love for me, and labor it was from the hours of research that was conducted. I once believed that Hattie was the wife of Andrew Carnegie, and Andrew it turns out was old enough to have been Hattie's grandfather. Even the mere spelling of the surname Carnegie was a challenge four years ago.  I thought that I would share some of my favorite stories that were shared via the site over these past four years.

In the beginning, I thought that she was born with a silver spoon, but I don't think she had ever seen a silver spoon, until she ventured into Macy's Department Store at fifteen years of age, she probably thought the streets of the Lower East Side were paved with gold, but when she first arrived, she was unimpressed with the dirty, overcrowded streets of the new neighborhood that welcomed them. When they unlocked the door to their new tenenment home, it was so tiny, dark and hot. The new home was not what they expected it to be, what a disappointment. There were no hallways, just door after door seperating the rooms. Isaac used to scream at his tempermental daughter to stop slamming those doors. When the family realized they had, a water closet with real indoor plumbing, no more outhouse. America was Paradise.

My favorite stories, that I learned about from Henrietta's childhood were when Henrietta and her childhood friends used to pretend they were going to the Ball, and used to pretend to dress all fancy with whatever they could fashion into fancy clothing Henrietta was mad that they always made her play the "man" because her dad was a tailor in a men's wear shop, that was until her father informed her that the "Man" always gets to lead at the dance.

My other favorite was when Henrietta and future opera star Alma Gluck pierced each others ears,  Obviously, against her parents wishes like she couldn't get an infection from letting her friend poke her with a sewing needle through the earlobe. "Ouch, I hope that they at least thought to use ice"

I doubt it though because most of those tenenments lacked an icebox. Isaac was upset because of the risk of infection and ordered her to throw out all the earrings that were not of the screwback kind. Just like the teenagers of today. Henrietta hid the pierced earrings, and put them in her ears, the minute that she was out of parental view.

Funniest Words of Wisdom "CORSET, No wonder that thing died, a more fitting name would have been CASKET, Because once you've worn that for a little while, you will wish that you were dead.

Hattie Carnegie to her secretary, Josephine Hughes, regarding the torture device "Please, You've got to help me get this thing off......It's killing me!"

Ahead of her time: When asked, if she had LIVED with John, before they were married. Hattie very honestly told her employees,"It's not accepted, but back in my day, if you had lived with someone of the opposite sex, you were called some awful names. It was scandalous, an unmarried woman living with a man,". and with her sense of humor she added, "I just made sure that I didn't wrinkle my negligee in my overnight bag, and had plenty of peppermints in my purse.". Hattie'1942

Favorite Hattie Jewelry: The pearl ring encircled with diamonds, that John gave her when they married to match her pearls, that was romantic.

Favorite Hattie Carnegie jewelry in my personal collection: The frog tremblar pin on the lilypad is by far, my favorite jewelry. (He jumps)

Jewelry I wish I owned: Anything with the HC in a diamond mark.

Macy Department Store: The best Macy's story has to be how Henrietta got her nickname of "Hattie" 

Hattie was what her co-workers elected to call her because she excelled at and showed incredible talent in the art of millinery."Millinery-Hat Design"  The nickname had nothing to do with her given name of Henrietta. It was simply a mere coinsidence that Hattie is often utilized as a nickname for girls with the name of Henrietta.   The coinsidence of her given name and her nickname, and the reason she was given the nickname is what makes the story so cute.

Hattie Carnegie INC.: The best story of Hattie's business was when that guy that offered to be Hattie's business partner, intended to and did swindle young naive Henrietta out of her savings. What a CREEP! Hattie stayed strong went back to Macy's for an additional four years, and the training proved to be benefical to her. Hattie built up her savings again, and realized her dream when she and Rosie Roth went into business together. Twenty years later the swindler was begging for Hattie's assistance, and she refused, and had the last laugh.

Ferdinand Flesichman- I have to mention Ferdinand, Hattie's first husband via her arranged marriage. I mention him because even though they shared no romantic love between them. Over time, they developed a special friendship.

According to the laws at the time. Women had no right to own property, even if it was acquired beforea marriage took place. Once a woman was married and even if she was divorced. The husband or ex-husband obtained all rights to property.  All rights,that included any business the wife has or had owned.

Ferdinand however thought this rule was unfair, he could have taken the business, but refused to take something from Hattie that she had worked so deligently to build.

Major John Zanft: I cannot say enough good things about Hattie's childhood sweetheart and love of her life, John Zanft. He took care of and loved Hattie for years. I think their inital teenage romance, difficult unwanted breakup, and eventual reunion and marriage over twenty years later was absolutely beautiful, and one of my favorite stories on the entire site.

I always laugh when I see photographs of Hattie and John. He was a huge, towering six foot-four, and she was teeny, tiny at barely four foot-nine.

Lucille Ball: She was such a courageous young girl. First professional model with a disability. My favorite story was Hattie turning Lucille into a mermaid, and those scales that were literally glued to her skin.  Another one, Teenage Lucille going to the speakeasy, when Hattie found out she was furious.

Images:In my opinion the best photograph of Hattie Carnegie was when she wore that beautiful red dress on the cover of Vogue, and posed like a statue.

Hattie-isms: No contest here, the very best story was Hattie conducting a business meeting in her bathroom while taking a bubblebath.

Hattie's Heritage: Rejecting the traditional arranged marriage was a big step for Hattie. Also starting her own business. What a pioneering little lady.

Greatest Honor and Acheivement of her Career: Being selected out of many applicants to redesign the Women's Army Corp Uniform. Discovering and being intelligent enough to realize that Lucille Ball was someone very special.

The best part of this website is definitely all the friends that I have made because of our mutual love and admiration for a fashion editor and businesswoman by the name of Hattie Carnegie. I have enjoyed working on the site over the past four years, it has brought me much happiness, and connected me to many wonderful people throughout the world.

Today, October the 7th was my birthday. I had a nice dream about Hattie last night. Sadly,although I only recalled one vivid section of the dream. I was standing in front of a mirror in a beautiful light blue dress. Hattie was standing next to me, conducting a fitting.  Hattie spoke to me in real time and called me by my name.

"Amy, I made you this special dress for your birthday, in light blue because it is my favorite color, and it has my favorite seed pearls on it, so you will remember who gave it to you.....Bless you dear child." she called me child, just like she used to refer to Lucille.

I was so happy, that I gave her a hug, and said, "Thank you, thank you so much, Hattie!"

That was all that I could recall, but I believe that those we love can and do communicate with us through our dreams. Maybe it's a little far-fetched, but I truly believe that was Hattie's way, of saying, Happy Birthday and thank you to me. Anyway, it left me with a smile.

 

  

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