Did you know…
The must-have accessory for fashionable ladies in the 1890s was a decorative hatpin? Besides being a statement piece of jewelry, the pins had a practical side. They were designed to secure women’s hats through their extravagant updos and remained an important fashion accessory item through the 1920s.
In 2006, Tri Delta was fortunate to obtain an unusual antique hatpin from an estate sale. This particular pin was cleverly fashioned from a wax seal of Tri Delta’s interlocking delta logo and measured almost 10 inches in length. The seal was covered with a brass ornament decorated with pansies and attached to a long pin. Despite its age, the pin is in remarkably good condition.
While researching the background of the hatpin, Tri Delta discovered an interesting history on the family that owned it. The pin was traced to its original owner, Mary Frances “Fanny” Simpson Rader, a founding member of the Theta Gamma Chapter at the University of Oklahoma. Fanny appeared in several photos of the chapter’s charter members, and a short bio and picture of her were included in the local organization’s petition to Tri Delta for membership.
Who was Fanny?
After graduating from OU, Fanny taught English at Norman High School in her hometown of Norman, Okla. In 1911, Fanny married her college sweetheart, Jesse Rader, who was then acting librarian of the OU Library. An article on their wedding notes that about half of the guests were Fanny’s Tri Delta sisters. Fanny’s husband would later be instrumental in obtaining legislative appropriation for building OU’s Bizell Memorial Library and building the library’s rare book collection.
When Fanny died in 1985, the hatpin was passed on to her daughter Katherine, also a member of Theta Gamma Chapter at OU. Dr. Katherine Rader started her career by following in her father’s footsteps as a reference librarian. She served as an English professor at Oklahoma Baptist University for many years, becoming chair of the Department of English and Letters in 1961. After she died in 2005, Katherine left an unexpectedly generous gift to OU, benefitting the History, English and Classics departments.
In 2006, Katherine’s unique hatpin became part of Tri Delta’s archives collection, featured in The Trident and displayed at several archives’ exhibits, a remarkable legacy from two devoted Tri Deltas.