Friday, June 01, 2007

June 1, 2007
Met Kathy and Deena at the Bob Boze Bell Suite down in Scottsdale last night. This is our last year of getting to stay there for free (the hotel gave us six years comped and we have gone every year). Thomas Charles is flying in tonight from Philly, so this will be a bitter-sweet weekend. T. Man is on his way to Peru and the Peace Corp in 10 days.

Confessions of A Hat Nazi: Part II
As I posted yesterday, I originally thought the Buck Taylor photo was an extraordinary find, but upon re-reading the caption it appears the 1887 date refers to a cowboy book, not the photo. While it's still possible the photo is from the 1880s, I have my suspicions that it is of later vintage, thus, putting me back to my original statement that the winged-cowboy hat does not appear on cowboy's heads until the 1890s.

Also, as I stated in the original True West Moment, there were hats out West that had the shape we think of as a "cowboy hat" but they are not seen on the heads of cowboys. Here's a good example: this is a close-up of some of the railroad track workers at Promontory Point, 1869. Also notice the many caps.

Here is a close-up of one of the workers wearing a hat that is definitely "winged" and would most likely be uncerimoniously rejected from most movie sets as being innacurate to the times (how ironic is that?). The official caption says they are graders, teamsters, herdsmen, cooks, bakers, blacksmiths, bridge builders, carpenters, masons and clerks. Now, you nitpickers, might have jumped on the term "herdsmen," and I do admit there is an outside chance that this guy is perhaps a cowboy herder, or a type of cowboy cousin. But my main point is still the same: the hat that we associate with the cowboy was not worn, or favored, by cattle drovers in the classic period of 1870 to 1888 (notice the fudge!).

"Do hat Nazis have regular meetings?"
—A typical blog reader stunned by the apparent importance of this debate

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