2/4/21   Black History Month

2/4/21 Black History Month

LISA MCFADDEN

Mae's Millinery Shop was one of the first shops in downtown Philadelphia to be owned by a woman of African American heritage. Born Lula Mae Grant, on October 29, 1912, in Vidalia Ga., she transitioned in 2016 at 104 years of age. Mae and her husband were very active in the community with religious, professional and political organizations. Ladies from these associations as well as celebrities were clients, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Eartha Kitt, Marian Anderson. In 1942 Reeves received a $500 bank loan and at the age of 28 she opened "Mae's Millinery Shop, not to be missed with standout signage. She opened a second shop in Philly and continued to create hats until 1997 when she retired at 85. Years later Reeves' daughter Donna Limerick (in pink floral trimmed hat) arranged for the contents of the shop to be donated to the Smithsonian.  Mae Reeves' is a permanent installation at NMAAHC with an extensive collection not limited to her hats. It includes the shop's original red-neon ‘MILLINERY’ sign, antique furniture, sewing machine and other items from the shop.

 

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