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Celebration Days in April

April 22, 2024

Along with more popular holidays like April Fool’s Day and Earth Day, April also has some lesser-known, yet still noteworthy, National Days. To continue our National Days blog series, I’ve highlighted two of these intriguing holidays with images from the IHS digital collection.

Madam C.J. Walker Collection, Indiana Historical Society

April 30th is National Hairstylist Appreciation Day. This holiday was established to recognize the hard work and artistic talents of all the hairdressers and barbers that take care of our hair. Of course, you can’t discuss hairstyling in Indiana without mentioning entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker. Along with manufacturing haircare products, she also established the Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Shoppe in Indianapolis. The first two photos show Walker hairdressers carefully styling their clients’ hair, one with Marcel Waves and the other with a curling iron. The rightmost photo is one of the only images in our collections that identifies both the hairstylist and customer: Marie Williams created this chic chignon for client Naomi Wickware.

Nicole Milinaire at Indianapolis, 1956, IHS, P0569

Another employer of Indiana hairstylists, the House of James Beauty College, provided regular salon services along with education in hairstyling and cosmetology. This salon once assisted celebrity and French television producer Nicole Milinaire, who worked on several popular films and television shows of the 1950s like Foreign Intrigue and Sherlock Holmes. This picture shows Milinaire admiring her new hairdo while a House of James hairstylist makes finishing touches.

Barber shop in Greenfield, ca. 1900, IHS, P0003; Children’s Barber Shop and Playground at L.S. Strauss & Co., 1905-1950, IHS, P0391; Hayden’s Barber Shop, ca. 1960, Indianapolis Recorder Collection, IHS

Barbers, too, have long provided quality hairstyling for Indiana clientele. The first photo shows three men getting their hair cut at a Greenfield barbershop around 1900. The middle image advertises L. Strauss & Co.’s children’s barber shop, which included a playground for restless kids to pass time at while they waited for their haircut. The last photo shows employees (left to right) Murray Hayden, Junior Byrd, William Bussey, James Parker, and M.C. Porter in Hayden’s Barber Shop at 912 W. Michigan Street, Indianapolis. According to the photo’s corresponding Indianapolis Recorder article, the motto of Hayden’s Barber Shop was “To look your best?the cut of your hair counts.” For this year’s National Hairstylist Appreciation Day, let’s thank our hairstylists for helping us look our best!

Man with chicken, 1908, Blackford Co. Historical Society, IHS; Cow, 1948, Bass Photo Co Collection, IHS; Girl with champion Hampshire Ewe, 1948, IHS, P0490

April 10th is National Farm Animals Day. This National Day was created by animal rescuer Colleen Paige in 2005 to advocate for the humane care of farm animals. With Indiana’s plentiful farmland comes many farm animals, and many pictures of them; these were a few of my favorites I found in the collection.

Please keep an eye on the IHS blog site for future monthly installments highlighting the National Day Calendar dates brought to you by the Reference Services Department here at the Indiana Historical Society.

Ellie Harrison is an assistant librarian at the IHS and loves all things fashion and art history

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