Woman's Ostrich Feather Hat

Dating from 1910-1912, this woman's hat is trimmed with ostrich plumes. At the end of the nineteenth century, there was an ever increasing demand by hat makers for plumes, especially ostrich, to decorate women's millinery. With new legislative restrictions on hunting wild birds for fashion, ostrich farming became a successful enterprise in California, Arizona, Texas, Arkansas, and Florida in the 1880s so that feathers could be clipped from the farmed birds to satisfy the American demands for hat making using ostrich feathers.
This hat is made of ivory silk and trimmed with plumes of a pale ivory shade. The underside of the hat brim is covered with black silk velvet. The ostrich plumes were extended by tying on barbs cut from other ostrich plumes. It measures 8.9 inches by 18.3 inches by 15.9 inches overall.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Physical Description
silk (part material)
feathers (part material)
overall: 225 mm x 465 mm x 405 mm; 8 7/8 in x 18 5/16 in x 15 15/16 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Costume
National Treasures exhibit
Clothing & Accessories
Government, Politics, and Reform
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Alice Matthew Terry Love
Related Publication
Kendrick, Kathleen M. and Peter C. Liebhold. Smithsonian Treasures of American History
Treasures of American History online exhibition
Publication author
National Museum of American History
Publication URL

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