“A Memorial” in Wool: Phineas Meigs’ Hat

People frequently ask me what’s my favorite item in the CHS collection. Frankly, that’s a tough one, not only because there are so many great items but also because different objects tell different stories in different ways. So when asked this question recently (appropriately enough while I was watching our town’s Memorial Day parade) I thought of an object that truly resonates with me.

It’s a simple, green wool “round hat”, a broad-brimmed type worn by farmers, tradesmen and militiamen in the American colonies. Think of it as the baseball cap of the 18th century and you’ll get the idea. Uncounted thousands of these hats were made and worn, yet only a handful of them survive. Surprised? Well, how many of your baseball caps will be around in a couple of hundred years?


Phineas Meigs’ round hat bears entry and exit holes from the musket ball that killed him instantly. 1850.10.0

Continue reading