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The Rise of the Straw Hat and the Riot of 1922

2018-12-03 | 🔗

The Straw Hat Riot of 1922 is a strange piece of history, and it all centered around the boater hat. How did how the boater become so important to men’s fashion in the early 20th century? And how did that lead to a very bizarre conflict in the 1920s?

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
this episode brought to you by office depot office depot has supplies and services for businesses of any size and they have a wide range of services that can provide twenty four seven tech support print your marketing materials and even help you design your office with variety of furniture solutions they also have all of the supplies your office needs from ink and paper to cleaning and break room supplies i'll tell you one thing that i never want to have to mess with again during our what kind of donor or in cartridges my particular brand of printer needs office depot has you cover whether you're running a home office like i do or work in a larger corporate setting they have you cover office depots ready to help your business with knowledgeable associates and overthrew
teen hundreds doors or online and honesty boat outcome welcome to stuff you missed in history class from housetop works that can allow unwelcome with apparent canst i'm calling fry and i'm crazy well then so straw hat riot of nineteen twenty two is a very strange piece of history for one there's no reason for it we do really know how it started in even the way it was perceived at the time seems to have been a mix of mild irritation little but a boy we'll be boys permissiveness and then some outright frustration and anger and while there are news articles from the time about how things out there are still some pretty big gaps and we'll talk about those but it all centred around the boat her hat so i thought it might be fund a kind of look at this topic
really wide angle starting with just how straw hats came into western culture and developed and then how the boulder became so important to men's fashion in the early twentieth tree all leading to this very strange conflict that well it's often called a riot singular actually played out over the course of several nights and work we don't really know when straw was first used as a material to make hats in western culture the lack of historical knowledge on the subject is probably because for a long time at least in europe using those kinds of materials was really something confined the lower classes but there are mentions of plant based materials used for hat making as far back as ancient rome including depictions of the goddess hira in a tall hat meet a braided grasses in an early greek and roman writing but there really is
much in the way of detail in any of these ratings or visual depictions they're just kind of named and then they move on i we can pick the thread in european history as far back as fourteen fifty nine and an english knight sir john fast off died in one written description of a spinal moments straw hats are specifically mentioned
that point on straw head where became more and more commonly mentioned in literature including in the works of william shakespeare edmund spencer and samuel peeps these hats became increasingly common and paintings as well yeah that that note just says that he is possessed of straw and hats i dont know if he was wearing them or just have them nearby maybe he had so many hats that it was particularly worthy of note he was that hat guy i feel like when i go people believe she had a lot of high tops some sources claim that mary queen of scots brought straw hat to scotland in the fifteen fifties and from there that fashion travelled throughout the british isles but
i was looking at a book called straw hat their history and manufacture which was published in nineteen twenty two and in its author henry inwards makes the case that while woven straw hat were already known in the region at the time pleaded or braided styles of straw hat may have in fact travelled from france with mary when she journey to scotland she grew up where i did you may i also say that planted yes i have heard it both ways and just to be clear it's like they kind of the breed the fibers into you know a brayden than that those braids are sewn together to create the hat straw hats for women wear rated as a necessity by one thousand six hundred and ninety four and that was in the the ladys dictionary being a general entertainment for the fair sex a work never attempted before in english after that straw hat for women we're just commonly mentioned in western literature and depicted in paintings they were seen virtually everywhere though star
rules and millinery techniques used to make them really varied widely by location even the materials used were completely different from one region to another depending on what local grass or straw was most abundant originally most of these that's use the fibre pretty much exactly as it grew from the earth but plated or planted straw hat created this way could quickly become heavy and burden and so to lighten the load enterprising hat makers eventually started pulling the outer sheath the straw away leaving the lighter and more pliable interior to work with another approach to him moving on the raw materials involved splitting straw down the middle lengthwise with a knife at some point braves or also created that used these two halves of the straw place together again after cutting in that
take the same amount of material but made it a lot easier to plant the straw and finer work at these experiments with straw for has continued to branches of the technique developed split straw or whole straw and in addition to giving milliners options regarding the pliability and the weight of the hats the decorative uses first straw on the hats opened up yeah you also see developing along these times was called straw work embroidery that was sometimes used on gowns as a fun fact for people that lake film costumes wedding dresses in the anglo saxon sensibility have straw work embroidery on them if you ever get to see those in real life are quite pretty i love that movie yeah me too but yes so straw was being used on that's an that kind of embroidery in this idea that it could be more than just a functional thing but also something that can be turned into
and really delicate shapes in and some really beautiful decorative work was also happening and soon a wider range of fibres started to become available for what we're still generally called straw hat even though many different things were used and that was thanks to global trade so eventually raphia bamboo hemp and even silk that was made to stiff ribbons were all used in what were called straw hat particularly in england where this really became a huge industry him then it took advantage of all of those techniques that had been developed over centuries just using local grasses and then they were basically applying these new materials to those techniques and great britain had emerged as the nexus of straw hat manufacture by the eighteenth century but then in the mid nineteenth century other countries that have developed their own straw hat industries began exporting to great britain bonnets where the most popular song
hat style of the late eighteen fifties and early eighties sixties and the ones made in switzerland france and italy in particular were often very ornate and embellished beautifully and that really put a dent in britain's hat industry then imports from china and japan started to arrive asian countries had been using grasses and straw and braided goods long before this i'd caught on in europe so their work was really excellent even when they were building on designs originated in europe even the raw materials imported from other countries displaced locally grown grasses the material of choice in british hat makers this was a very real threat to the livelihoods of many tradespeople in britain at the time while milliners worked with all kinds of materials decree hats platters who specifically worked with straw and grass decree hats were being displaced
and so as a form of solution in eighteen ninety six the british straw planning company was created to try to find a silly into this problem and reduce the likelihood that an entire workforce would find itself without income this company basically leverage the fact that it was a cooperative effort of many hat makers who would all promote straw hat and place orders with local craftspeople to give straw hat making in their home country a shot in the arm that works at least briefly as new designs emerged and the platters made an effort to really competes with the work that was coming into britain from other countries but importers also wanted to compete and they started flashing their prices by the end it he ninety nine the british straw planning company was out of business it was to expensive to produce hats in britain compared to making them and other places additionally this craft of making
hats had changed so starting in the mid eighteen sixties various techniques were developed to so braided straw into by machine rather than by hand and over the course of just a few years machine stitch straw hat where the standard and ham stitching was only done on very course materials that just weren't suitable to run through machine and soon sewing machine manufacturers were all offering their own machines that could stitch plots together to create hats over years many many different styles of hat were developed both for women and for men and one of these hats for men the border as the focus of the rest of us episode we will get right into that after we pause for a word from one of the sponsors that keeps stuffy miss than history glass going situated on the beautiful cable beach by hamas
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or what you specials including up to thirty five percent savings on your stay yes thirty five percent visit mordechai that's baja more dhaka ba h it may are dot com so the boat or had just in case you are not familiar with it is a flat topped hat with street sides and of very flat brim and it's usually made with planted straw stick together spiral and then blocked onto a form and around the base of the crown is a ribbon which in an era usually see striped ribbon for a long time in its earlier inception the ribbon was usually black and white voters are still seen today
the origin of this hat style is reportedly different depending on source everything from eighteen twenty two to the eighteen eighties is mentioned as the advent of the border in all likelihood this is probably because there were boat or like hats on early end of that timescale and they started to look more like what we would call a voter ass time went on so i think that is probably why there is some discrepancy there in the united states the odor became more and more popular starting in the late eighteen hundreds first with younger hat errors and then with middle class men and by the nineteen twenties boaters were practically required as summer men's where they offered shade and were cooler temperature wise than felt hats were every well dressed gentlemen always have his voters summer and a cultural rule began for men of wearing about her from may fifteenth to september fifteenth this
a lot like the idea of not wearing white after labour day just kind of became accepted and adhered to by the majority of new yorkers in particular it was throughout the country but new york was very serious about this whole thing a september thirteen nineteen twenty five article in the new york times with the byline of the initials a j secured the entire your social convention of these hat calendar rules it read is not written in the great book of the herd on may fifteenth shall men don t right being authorized by long an accredited tradition and on september fifteenth shall man doth the same or be judged a mockery of the herd gods with article goes on to cite the statistic that eighty to ninety percent of all hat sales take place during just two separate weeks of the year one and what in september there is a subtle side i in a mad article that is cast toward the hat trade
maybe being the people that are stirring this whole thing up there there is some bury sub all but really they are racism to it because most hat sellers and haberdashery were jewish at the time in new york but yeah there is this suggestion of like you have just stirred this whole thing up so you can make it money two weeks of the year but this tradition or social law had this elements not unlikely deeply irritating practice that still sometimes takes place here in the u s of pinching people on saint patrick stay if they aren't wearing green there is a lot to unpack there but in short that holding is so wrong place don't ever do that if you do it i can't promise that i won't enact some sort of cruelty to you if i witness it but in new york wait is played out is that if a man was wearing a straw hat after september fifteenth it was
common and really kind of accepted for a kid the whip it off his head and stop it in the street again talk to stuff like that this was generally an issue of irritating shenanigans but it was not seen as especially dangerous but then in nineteen twenty two things did get out of hand before things boil over in september of that year there had been an article in the new york times on may seventh titled straw hat for nineteen twenty two it outlined just how serious a man had to be about his boat or article opened with quote the choice of your straw hat this year will require more serious thought and consideration then formerly and that article discussed the wide range of boaters that had become available and that no properly dress gentlemen could get by with just one hat for the seas in the china split straw style was preferred for evening attire and the panama city
for semi dress if you were going out for a round of golf the leghorn straw hat was the proper choice even the shade of this ro the article advised had to be carefully considered the rider advised that the public needed education about how to properly care for a straw hat and also extolled the virtues of american hats french hats or deems to fanciful english hats were too heavy and the discoloration but there is a particular paragraph in that article which kind of jumps out in retrospect it opens with less attention will be paid this year too the conventional dates for putting on and taking off straw hants and then it concludes with this season the temperature will be the chief arbiter of fashions this could not have been more wrong the trouble started onset
we're thirteen nineteen twenty two two days before the random and completely arbitrary bait of september fifteenth that had been set down as the socially accepted end of straw hat wearing sees in the new york times reported quote on the theory that september fifteenth as the last day of straw hat season and that they had the right to declare open season on straw hat on other persons heads scores of rubies on the east side and in other parts of the city started smashing half last evening they were snatch him hats from the heads of the way yours and then smashing them in the street or throwing them unto bonfires yet there are some accounts that this actual a kind of got a little bit of fuel from the fact that like kids who are normally doing this sort of thing because i thought it was fun again you can hear the disdain in my voice i'm sure
had actually gone after a group of dockworkers and the dockworkers fought back in that kind of fuel this whole like tension in and anger about it and that's kind of what sparked this to get bigger than it was i read that in a few places i didn't find hard confirmation of it so just f why if you see that that's the scoop but from the night of the thirteenth seven men were apprehended and they were brought before magistrate peter a heading that name is just a really nice coincidence and he found them all guilty and he and each of them five dollars but he was serious he did not like any of this business he was adamant that he was not he soon lenient going forward of people brought into his night court for hats matching and stopping he gave this statement in the courtroom and it was printed in the times on september fourteenth quote it is against the law to smash a man's hat when he has the right to wear it in a snow storm if he wishes to hit a man's hat is simple assault
and in this court they will be treated as such and i want you to spread this word among all who would smash hats a man's hat is just as much his property than is just as much to be defended as his watch and the courts are going to enforce the laws but magistrate headings warning did not really have the desired effect because there more attacks the knight of the fourteenth and one headline the next day red boys scalp straw headed and it mentioned reason for the riot was quote yet undiscovered no one knew why this was going on on the fifteenth the new york times ran an editorial that supported headings position that at oriole also mentioned that it wasn't clear where this entire social law had even come from and that quote its enforcement is left to boys and others with undeveloped minds who delight in destruction for its own sake especially when it is accompanied by noise and excitement and when it makes somebody else
angry reminds me of so many sports riots the writer also went on to note that a man should quote fight if he can and call the police if he can't and then on the night of the 15th are rioting intensified the new york times september 16th one thousand nine hundred and twenty two coverage of the previous night open with this lime gangs of young hoodlums ran riot in various parts of the city last night smashing unseasonable straw hats and trampling them in the street the article describes mobs some including hundreds of boys and young men prowling city blocks looking for straw hat wheres to punish any time the police were called and showed up on a scene break up these mobs they would disperse only to reform elsewhere shortly thereafter the new york tribune reported quote boys who were guided by the calendar rather than the weather and most of all by their own trouble making proclivities indulged in a straw hat
rushing orgy throughout the city last night a dozen or more were arrested and seven worse banked ignominiously by their parents in the east one hundred fourth street police station by order of the lieutenant of the desk nurse less impact there too there is there's a lotta impact in terms of social norms throughout this episode so sticks with nails run through the tipps where the weapons of choice for some of these boys in young men who are forcing men that they encountered on the street to basically run a gauntlet of them in the hopes that their nails would snag the hats obviously this is also incredibly dangerous because the sharp object they eared waving at somebody's head there were also sneak attacks where unsuspecting pedestrians or jump to buy one or two boys at a time the street car tracks on christopher street lines of boys and young men weighted by the tracks and snatched hats from the passengers as they passed by
according to the statement of a man named easy jones has amsterdam avenue street car was boarded by a group of boys at nine p m on september fifteenth these boys attacked passengers rejoined the mob that jones estimated to be as large as a thousand people a number that seems pretty unlikely but at this point is impossible the
check and we're gonna talk a little bit more about how things played out on the night of september fifteenth but first we're going to take a quick break for a word from one of our sponsors this episode has brought you buy office depot office depot as supplies and services for businesses of any size i you speak to this personally as a college student when i was a business the size of one office debo provides twenty four seven tech support it lets you print your own marketing materials and it can help you design your office with a bunch of furniture solutions they also have exactly the supplies your office needs from your home office to a commercial set up they ve got the ink i've got the paper they ve got the cleaning they ve got the brake room supply so when i was setting up my home office i went straight to office depot because i had a ton of stuff i needed to get and i wanted to get it all in one
place but don't take my word for it see for yourself office depots ready to help your business with knowledgeable associates in over one thousand three hundred stores or online at office depot dot com so on the night of september fifteenth in the midst of all of this hat smashing one particularly bad spot was the area ranging from a hundred and second to a hundred twenty fifth streets in manhattan along third lexington and park avenue in particular eight boys from a group of ten to twelve were apprehended two policemen those policemen were named le more and king and they had spotted the kids from a doorway with sticks in their hand and though the captured boys were taken into the station at east a hundred enforced street none of them were formerly charge because they were all younger than fifteen but they did get a lecture they were told they would be put in a cell if they were holding again and once again spanking was recommend
to their parents when they came to collect kids will just keep unpacking all the weirdness of this entire situation its weirdly ironic that we are recording this episode today because i think it is this week that one of like the national pediatrics associations was like do not spend your children it is bad an incident on a hundred fifteenth street sent twenty five year old henry garber to the hospital garber tried to fight back when a group of boys try to take his hat but he was overpowered there were a lot more of them he was beaten and kicked and left on the street yes that advice about fighting back maybe so good on a hundred and second street acting detective sergeant brindisi remember that name was jumped by a gang who through his hat into the street and he tried to give chase but he tripped any fell he did manage
make one arrest he arrested a man named leo cohen who was not a boy he was a grown man of age thirty form and cohen was booked on a disorderly conduct charge cohen was actually discharged by a judge after denying the charge that he had tripped brindisi incidentally the new york tribune rode up that same story but with the few notable difference is the detective is listed as rocco brindisi not brindisi the man he arrested as listed as sigmund cone who was a special policemen he was not part of the riots but brindisi arrested him for tripping him as quick interfering with an officer in the discharge of his duty charge the tribunes coverage also indicated that the police were not especially concerned about all of this hat snatching they quote were inclined guard their activities lightly but they are being the boys and young men who were doing this
that is until plainclothes officers got jumped and then things started to get a little more serious with the police sixteen year old morris cycle wits who was a resident of east hundred and seventy eight street was apprehended by the man he and his friends tried to attack when the group approached harry old bound at one sixteenth at lexington they manage to get his hat but all bound fought back and ended up chasing several of the young men until he caught cycle wits and psycho it's got a disorderly conduct charge but when psycho its went directly before magistrate peter a heading at night court he was about sentence to jail time when a surprising thing happened his victim old bound moved by the presence of sites oh it's elderly mother intervened and he actually asked the judge to be lenient and magistrates
having agreed to this but he was adamant that he would jail the next hat hoodlum adding quote i intend to see that citizens are protected in their property having was true to his word on this the next case he saw was that of a silver men who had been charged with smashing straw hat after abraham burn bomb had filed a complaint against him silverman was sentenced three days in jail for hat snatching and destruction so one of the incidents of the night of september fifteenth as report by the new york times is to me a little bit confusing in its wording so their report reads quote john sweeney ten of three sixty three west sixteenth ran into an automobile driven by john montfort of four eleven east nineteen street john and the other boys were enjoying the hat smashing sport on seventh avenue between seventeenth and eighteenth streets his right leg was broken he was taken to bellevue hospital for treatment so it sounds
this kid collided with a car while he was on foot but because both the child and the driver were named john and perhaps also because the paper maybe didn't there to be any indication that the car hit the child but rather the child was responsible for running it reads a little weird you don't even see a person on foot described is running into a car it is worth noting that hat stores state open long past their normal closing times during all of this so that gentlemen could come in and purchase appropriate autumn head where and this stave off being attacked for their straw hat these stores that a massive business during this time over the next several nights the straw hat riot slowly died down the following years had some level of this strange hat vigilante behaviour it was not on the level of the nineteen twenty two riot just a few
later on september 20th one thousand nine hundred and twenty five the new york times ran a brief article with the headline discard date for straw hats ignored by president coolidge the blurb mention that the president have worn a straw hat with a black brim on both the 18th and the 19th of the month and no one snatched it from his head or stomped it to pieces and that is a very weird moment in new york has to bear in mind here it this strikes me as so completely strange and one of those things that i i think sometimes when you read modern articles about it it kind of get sensationalize to be like this crazy brawl like i said that one account of of the dock work
being involved suggested that there was a brawl and it actually stop traffic on the manhattan bridge i dont know if that were true or not but yeah it's often depicted as though it was like this wild maniacal thing and it is interesting that some of the new fortunately the police thought it was funny until some of their guys got jumped so clearly was not really considered like it kind of get sensationalize to be like this crazy brawl like i said that one account of of the dockworkers being involves suggested that there was series i will come for you so i can think of a very very very few circumstances when it might be appropriate to smash someone's hat like if someone had on a hat bearing a lot of racist slogans sure maybe if i may ok to smash that hat but not if their wearing a hat after september fifteenth will especially because i mean like
we mentioned earlier on in the episode these great how options for warm days because they were little cooler but they still let you get some shade and be you know presentable and wearing a hat which was very very important time for men so y gotta be jerk it could be really really warm in new york like well into the autumn yes to in our toper sometimes it is hot new york so those kids jerks that's that's a subject which i have two pieces of listener male one because it involves being snappy dresser like wearing hat but though does not involve a hat specifically and then a second one hour you will read the snappy dresser when first it is from our listener sarah she says i'm listening dear episode on bob hope and i thought i would share this picture of my grandfather who passed away this august here he is looking dapper with my sister in nineteen eighty nine when i posted this on instagram my dad told me the story that when papa was in the army during our work
you cary grant came to entertain the troops this is part of the usa which was also part of that bob hope episode and he got to see right up front any said he felt like a slob in his uniform compared to the well dressed grant and he decided that when he got out of the army he would start dressing like that too and he did for the rest of his life not super relevant but i hope you enjoy this picture of my beloved grandfather and my sister wearing one of his sweaters he is indeed a snappy dresser and that is a really beautiful the story of a gorgeous picture so thank you so much for sharing this era are other listener mail that i have today is a little bit of a gear change from that it is about our princess the fire tragedy episode from our listener lisa and it is piece of physical mail and lisa rights on an absolutely adorable utter card i love your show thank you so much for the informative entertaining podcast i recently listen to your episode on the princess of fire and then i
happened to be in juno alaska on the one hundredth anniversary and i went to an opera about the tragedy i thank you how many more listeners from alaska thank you for all your work and she very sweetly sent us her programme from the opera so you'll have an office in excellent tracy is here because i know she will live to see it it's very cool if you would like to write to us you can do so at history by cast a house work star com you can also find us pretty much everywhere and social media as missed in history and you can find back episodes of every show it show notes for every episode crazy and i have worked on our website list in history dot com you can subscribe to stuff you missed in history class on apple pancake
the iheart radio app or wherever you did podcast for more on this and thousands of other topics visit housetop works dot com this episode brought to you by office depot office depot has supplies and services for businesses any size and they have a wide range of services that can provide twenty four seven tech support print your marketing materials and even help you design your office with variety of furniture solutions they also have all of the supplies your office needs from ink and paper to cleaning and break room supplies i'll tell you one thing that i never want to have to mess with again
during our what kind of donor in cartridges my particular brand of printer needs office depot has you cover whether you're running a home office like i do or work in a larger corporate setting they have you cover office depots ready to help your business with knowledgeable associates and over thirteen hundred stores or online and office depot dot com
Transcript generated on 2020-01-14.