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Amon Carter Borsalino; Stetson Shady Oak Farm; Peters Bros Shady Oaks, Bankers Special & Shady Pines

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17,577
This is the hat given to President Kennedy in Fort Worth, TX the morning of the assassination, Nov 22, 1963. It was referred to as a Stetson hat but it is still referred to as The Texas Hat. Could this hat be a Peters Bros Shady Oaks or Bankers Special (post Swiss hoods) from when Peters Bros were sourcing Hat bodies & parts from Stetson? Pics are hard to come by but it's probably in the assassination museum in Dallas where they don't allow pics to be taken.

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In searching for the whereabouts of this hat given to JFK at breakfast in Fort Worth the morning of his assassination I found documentation & its true identity. Claims have been made thru the yrs that it was a “Texas Hat” made by Peters Bros as a gift to the President. Doubt could be cast on that claim when the Mayor of Fort Worth, Raymond Buck credits only Washer Bros for the gift during his presentation to the President. Amon G. Carter sourced all his Stetson Shady Oak Farm hats thru Washer Bros but Carter had died in 1955. There was also the possibility that it could be a Resistol sourced by LBJ thru his friendship & political support from Harry Rolnik. LBJ had previously given JFK a Resistol on his first campaign trip to TX & the LBJ Ranch.

Officially the Fort Worth breakfast presentation hat was a gift from a member of the general public. After the assassination, along with the pink Tony Lama western boots given to the First Lady the hat was the property of the Kennedy family in the care of the General Services Administration. Today both the hat & the boots are in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, MA, donated by the family when it opened in 1965. Currently the hat is not on display.

According to physical property records of the museum the hat is a Stetson OR Twenty-five taken out of inventory from Washer Bros:

“Grey felt cowboy hat, with cord hat band with button on top, pierced with hat pin in shape of brand "JBS" for John B. Stetson. The interior hat band has gold printing: "Washer Bros, Fort Worth/ Open Road/ Stetson Twenty Five/ John B. Stetson Company".

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https://jfk.artifacts.archives.gov/...91feb5028daebad53c6c13bd48060e4a38c0416&idx=1

Still searching for the LBJ Resistol hat.
 
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17,577
Nice one Jack! Is this a newer acquisition for you? How does it compare with your other Shady hats?
Thanks Ross! Yes, a recent addition to my collection. My other Stetson Shady Oak Farm is a 3X & both are very thin felt. This one seems to be slightly softer than the 3X but I don’t know if that’s because it’s an RD or just because it has been worn more. My guess would be that politicians, civic leaders & guests who were gifted a hat by Carter didn’t wear them often. Some were probably worn as they were handed down to others in the coming yrs. Most hats probably ended up in personal memoirs & museums of such people.

On the left is Fort Worth Police & Fire Commissioner John Alderman wearing what appears to be a Stetson Shady Oak Farm. On the back of the paddy wagon are Frank Phillips & L.E. Phillips (Phillips Petroleum Co.). To the right is Amon Carter. 4/19/1925.

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Rmccamey

I'll Lock Up
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5,663
Location
Central Texas
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17,577
Amon Carter Jr with ventriloquist Edgar Bergen & “Charlie McCarthy” 8/23/1938.

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Amon Carter has Stetson make a scaled down version of his Shady Oak Farm hat for ventriloquist Edgar Bergen’s “Charlie McCarthy” & presented 9/21/1940.

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In March 1943 Amon Carter Jr would become a POW, captured by the German Wehrmacht. For 27 months he was held with other POW’s outside Szubin, Poland at Oflag 64.

—————————

8/23/1938,

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7/27/1940,

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Messages
17,577
Amon Carter met Winston Churchill for the first time in London, Dec 1942. In appreciation & admiration Carter had Stetson make an Ermine & Pure Beaver fur hat which was then forwarded to Churchill thru the White House on May 21, 1943. (Carter’s son, Amon Carter Jr had joined the US Army as a lieutenant in 1941 & was captured as a POW in March, 1943).

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B&W pic of the hat & case.

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Churchill acknowledged his acceptance of the gift on May 25th, 1943

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Carter’s telegram of June 7th, 1943

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Winston Churchill was pictured with the hat on the front page of the New York Times sometime in December 1943, along with President Franklin Roosevelt & Mr. & Mrs. Chiang Kai-shek, documenting their meeting.
 
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17,577
I have not been able to document Amon Carter sourcing hats from Borsalino either before or early in Benito Mussolini’s rein (1922 - 1945) as has been stated. So far the earliest documentation I have found of any gifted hat is this 1924 handwritten letter by Sir Godfrey John Vignoles Thomas on behalf of Edward, Duke of Windsor, Prince of Wales thanking Amon Carter for the gifted Stetson hat.

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No documentation of Carter sourcing hats from Peters Bros found either.
 
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17,577
Amon Carter’s letter of Nov 21, 1941 to Edwin M. Watson, Whitehouse Appointments Secretary to President Franklin D. Roosevelt documents the Stetson Ermine beaver hat in 7-3/8 gifted to the President; that there had only been “about 10” Ermine hats sold in the US at that time; & that Carter also purchased one for himself. The $150.00 insurance policy that came with each Ermine hat from Stetson was good for one yr.

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Carter’s letter of Oct 3, 1942 to Grace Tully, Private Secretary to the President further discusses the Ermine & beaver fur felt the hat was made from; how to locate further documentation behind the liner in the leather case; Stetson’s renovation service as needed & the $150.00 insurance policy. The letter also documents a leather belt with sterling silver buckle apparently gifted by Carter to the President.

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17,577
Amon Carter’s hat is not identified in these pics but I suspect it is the Stetson Ermine & beaver fur that Carter purchased for himself. The timing is right, these pics were taken May 5th, 1945 on the release of his son from the Nazi Prison Camp Oflag 64 after 27 months as a POW.

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Pic taken May 5th, 1946 at the first anniversary reunion of the POW’s of Oflag 64.

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17,577
This letter dated Feb 29th, 1932 to John Nance Garner documents a personalized Stetson 5X with the nomenclature “Hooray for John Garner and West Texas” embossed inside, gifted from Carter; & the hat was purchased from a Fort Worth store, most likely Washer Bros. Formerly a West Texas judge Garner would have been the Speaker of the US House of Representatives at that time.

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Amon Carter & John Nance Garner at the dedication of American Airways at the Fort Worth Municipal Airport, Oct 18th, 1933. Garner would have been US Vice President under President Franklin D. Roosevelt at that time.

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Urged by many to run for President in 1940, Time Magazine characterized Garner on April 15, 1940 as follows:

“Cactus Jack is 71, sound in wind & limb, a hickory conservative who does not represent the Old South: of magnolias, hoopskirts, pillared verandas, but the New South: moneymaking, industrial, hardboiled, still expanding too rapidly to brood over social problems. He stands for oil derricks, sheriffs who use airplanes, prairie skyscrapers, mechanized farms, $100 Stetson hats. Conservative John Garner appeals to many a conservative voter.”

Oct 3rd, 1942 letter where Carter gifts to Garner a personal Stetson hat that Carter had worn a few times. The hat is otherwise unidentified.

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17,577
I’ll wrap this up with some prominent names that Carter kept that he gifted hats to. All of these hats were described as either Stetson or Shady Oak Farm hats. What remains a mystery is the reported relationship & timeline with Borsalino, & Peters Bros Texas Hat.

Harold L. Ickes
US Secretary of Interior
1934

Maj J. H. Doolittle
Shell Oil Co.
1937

Chester W. Nimitz
Commander of the US Pacific Fleet
1944

Eddie Rickenbacker
1944

Gen Douglas MacArthur
1951
NYC Det Louis E. Sullivan
Bodyguard to MacArthur
Don Whitehead
Associated Press Rep on MacArthur

A. P. Fontaine
Aircraft Engineer, Convair Aircraft Corp
1951

President Dwight D. Eisenhower
1953

Herbert Hoover
1954

Charles Lindbergh

Two personal lists from 1937

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Four personal lists from 1953

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Messages
19,124
Location
Funkytown, USA
I’ll wrap this up with some prominent names that Carter kept that he gifted hats to. All of these hats were described as either Stetson or Shady Oak Farm hats. What remains a mystery is the reported relationship & timeline with Borsalino, & Peters Bros Texas Hat.

Harold L. Ickes
US Secretary of Interior
1934

Maj J. H. Doolittle
Shell Oil Co.
1937

Chester W. Nimitz
Commander of the US Pacific Fleet
1944

Eddie Rickenbacker
1944

Gen Douglas MacArthur
1951
NYC Det Louis E. Sullivan
Bodyguard to MacArthur
Don Whitehead
Associated Press Rep on MacArthur

A. P. Fontaine
Aircraft Engineer, Convair Aircraft Corp
1951

President Dwight D. Eisenhower
1953

Herbert Hoover
1954

Charles Lindbergh

Two personal lists from 1937

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View attachment 577902

Four personal lists from 1953

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View attachment 577898

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Interesting as well is the size spread for the hats. This may be the best data we've ever had, considering it's a randomized sample.
 
Messages
17,577
Still no connection to Borsalino but I did find this:

Henry Lewis “HL” Mencken (1880-1956) was an acerbic columnist of the era from Baltimore & later NYC. He had written & published several disparaging columns about the new South. In 1928 the Democratic National Convention was held in Houston & Amon Carter invited Mencken to spend a night at the Fort Worth Club as his guest on Mencken’s way to Houston. Even though the two had never met, Mencken accepted. When Mencken arrived Carter gifted him with a Borsalino fedora & one of his Shady Oak Farm Stetsons. Mencken would latter write a column about what a bore & how excessive everything was in Texas.

Carter could have suspected Mencken’s preference for fedoras & purchased the Borsalino locally in Fort Worth. These are the only two pics of Mencken I could find from the era.

Mencken & George Jean Nathan (1920)

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1930

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