Railroad Station Baggage Handler's Cap

This cap, ca. the 1950s, is characteristic of such caps seen at railroad stations throughout North America from the 1920s till about the 1980s. The cloth appears to be silk, which gives a sheen to the cap's fabric; silk was not unusual for red caps.
This cap was used by an employee of the Canadian National Railway, a fact that in no way detracts from the cap's relevance to U.S. railroad history or to African American history. U.S. and Canadian railroads in fact have operated as a seamless, interchangeable rail network from the late 1890s to the present day, and the Canadian National, in particular, historically owned rail lines operating in Michigan. The Canadian Pacific Railway historically owned lines across Maine. Employment conditions for "red caps" at Canadian terminals were identical to such conditions at U.S. depots.
Currently not on view
Object Name
cap, railroad station 'red cap'
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
African American
Clothing & Accessories
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Railroad
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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