Saturday, July 16, 2016

Final Post

Hello, fellow hat lovers!  Just a quick update to say that this will be my last post on this blog.  It was a fun experiment, but one that has ultimately served its purpose.  The blog was a stepping stone to a larger, more organized website, and that organization is why I have decided to abandon this blog and concentrate my efforts over there.  I have transitioned all of the information from this blog to my website, www.thehattedprofessor.com, and that is where I will post updates from now on.  This website will live on only for archival purposes, but will no longer be updated.

Great things are in store for the website.  I am completing a massive overhaul and redesign to make it responsive, i.e., make it so it will look good, be readable, and operate well on desktops, notebooks, tablets, phablets, and  even smartphones.  The new site should go live later this weekend.  I'm using Adobe Muse for the design, which makes the site much more easily updated and appended.  I will be posting new information as quickly as I can get it written and uploaded, so there should be much progress made the rest of this year.

Thanks for reading my blog these past six years.

Please join me at The Hatted Professor!

Brad
~The Hatted Professor

Friday, July 11, 2014

Have you ever wondered what kind of fur went into your hat?

One common misconception about vintage hats concerns the type of fur used to make the felt.  Perusing eBay, you will more often than not see sellers list hats as being made of either wool or beaver.  And, just as often, they are made of neither.  This is not necessarily the fault of the sellers, though.  As a society, we are so far removed from the purchase and everyday use of hats that we seldom give it any thought.  If we run into hats at the department store, they are made of wool, so we probably draw an assumption from that experience.  As well, the notion that beaver makes the best hats permeates the perceptions of the general public, and any experience with this might come from shopping for a western hat, where beaver reigns supreme.  Beaver felts tighter than rabbit and hare, making a more-durable fabric, and offers a fine finish, making it prized for an hard-wearing cowboy hat.  But even today’s western hats don’t always feature beaver.

The quick answer to our question, then, is that the majority of felt hats manufactured during the twentieth century were made with a blend of rabbit and hare.  Wool felt hats were available in much smaller quantities as very inexpensive hats (just as they are today), and beaver hats were available in smaller quantities as higher-end hats.  Beaver was, and still is, much more expensive to acquire than rabbit and hare.  Rabbit (aka coney) and hare were the standard for men’s hats, and they made felt that was durable and finished out nicely at an affordable price.  

Remember, this was back in the day when American manufacturers pushed men to buy a new hat seasonally in Spring and Fall, and changing styles every year helped to encourage this behavior.  Undoubtedly most men probably held onto their hats longer than that, but hats weren’t meant to last forever, and as a daily hat wearer, I can attest that hats take an incredible amount of abuse.  Think about how often you have to buy a new pair of shoes, or have them resoled.  I have numerous hats in daily rotation, so the abuse from heat, sweat, moisture, and dirt is spread out.  Unless you moved in social circles where different hats were required for different modes of dress, most men in early the twentieth century had, at most, a warm weather hat and a cool weather hat.  The middle part of the century probably saw men who were still wearing hats branch out into a few more options, such as a dressy soft hat and a casual soft hat, along with summer straws, maybe even different colors for different suits.  Affordable hats were key to this success, and rabbit/hare nicely fit the bill.

Mid-priced hats might feature a blend of rabbit/hare with beaver, while the high-end ones could be pure beaver.  For instance, in 1931, Cavanagh offered a pure belly beaver fur (the most desirable fur) snap-brim hat for $40 (the Cavanagh Forty), and pure beaver (not belly fur, though), Derbies for $20.  By the mid-1950s, inflation meant that a beaver-blend hat from Hat Corporation of America, from either Cavanagh, Knox, Dobbs, or C&K, would sell for $50, and a pure beaver hat would set you back $100.  

On a side note, in 1939 the United States government required that any percentage of wool (in hats or otherwise) had to be listed somewhere on the manufactured item.  The majority of hats that survive today and are offered for sale in auctions, estate sales, and thrift stores, will date to post-1939, so you can usually be assured that your hat is not wool, providing the labels or sweatband haven’t been lost.

Nutria was an option that American hat manufacturers explored starting around 1900, one that felted tightly like beaver but could still offer a nice finish.  It is still in limited use today.  Crofut & Knapp offered nutria hats in Derbies and even top hats, and I would make a guess in soft hats, as well. They marked their hats if they were nutria.  On the subject of top hats, most antique top hats you run across will be silk hats, not beaver.  Again, this is a common misconception.  Prior to the 1830s top hats were made from beaver, but the creation of hatter’s plush from silk in France changed the fashion forever.  Silk was desirable because it could be polished to a greater sheen than beaver.  By the twentieth century, silk hats were almost the only style of high hat made and sold, and these are the antiques you find for sale.  There were exceptions, at least from Crofut & Knapp.  I have a top hat made from Clear Argentine Nutria, and Cavanagh offered a Coachman’s top hat made from beaver, which makes sense, as a Coachman would be exposed to the weather, and beaver would hold up far better than silk.  It was a very rough finish, however.







I’ll end this brief tutorial with a page from The C&K Book, from 1924, which describes the various types of fur Crofut & Knapp used in their hats.




~The Hatted Professor

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

JFK's Hat Legacy

While the recent fiftieth anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination is fresh in our minds, I want to take a moment and focus instead on the lesser-known story of the competition to place at hat upon his head for the 1960 inauguration, and the ultimate meaning of that event. 

Kennedy marks a turning point in our country’s history in terms of not just hat wearing, but in men’s fashion in general.  Two of the largest hatting concerns, The John B. Stetson Co., and Hat Corporation of America, got their start around the same time.  Stetson dates to 1865, and Hat Corporation of America dates to Crofut & Knapp’s founding in 1858.  Thanks to modern manufacturing techniques and continually modernizing factories, they were the two biggest hat companies in the United States in 1960.  They and the rest of the hatting industry placed all of their hopes upon for a turnaround in hat sales on John F. Kennedy, much as the hopes for a new era in America rested upon the young president.  Kennedy really does reflect the end of an incredible era for the hatting industry, roughly a half-century of strong hat sales followed by nearly a half-century of decline.

I won’t revisit the myth that President Kennedy killed off hat-wearing among American men simply because he preferred to go bareheaded.  That myth needs to be put to rest, and no one has done so more eloquently than Neil Steinberg in his book, Hatless Jack: The President, the Fedora, and the History of an American Style.  Hatlessness as a fad, especially among college students, was noted with increasing frequency in New York City during the mid-1920s, even supported by an organized anti-hat movement.[1]  It accelerated after World War II, and by 1960 there was no stopping the downward spiral.  Kennedy’s inauguration and his tenuous relationship with hats and the hatting industry really mark the end of the dominance of an entire industry in American culture and life, and of the social pressure to conform by wearing a hat.

The issue of declining hat sales in America came to be associated with JFK and his habitual hatlessness.  His full head of often-unruly hair was a defining feature, and many newspaper reporters made mention of his lack of hat.  The hatting industry looked upon JFK’s hatlessness with near panic.  The leader of the free world, a man looked up to by millions of people, regularly chose to not wear a hat.  Kennedy merely reflected a long-term trend, but because of his stature in the public’s eyes, the hatting industry knew he could also be a trendsetter.  In short, if they could convince Kennedy to wear a hat, he would be their savior, as if his wearing a hat would suddenly turn around decades of decline. 

Candidate, president-elect, and President Kennedy faced pressure from the hatting industry to wear hats more often.  The Hat Institute of America, the hatter’s union, and even two of the President-elect’s potential cabinet members, Arthur J. Goldberg, Secretary of Labor designate, and Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare designate Governor Abraham Ribicoff of Connecticut, encouraged him to wear hats to mollify the industry.[2] 

The hatting industry had some initial success with Kennedy, as shortly after the election it was noted that he “lately has taken to wearing a felt hat because the hat makers of Connecticut protested that his bare head set a bad example for the country.”[3]  The true test, though, would come with the inauguration.  Would Kennedy wear a hat at all?  Tradition dictated that he should, and that it should be a high silk top hat.  Kennedy did, in fact, own a silk top hat, as he had worn one to Harvard University’s commencement ceremony in June 1960.[4]

But times seemed to be changing.  Dwight D. Eisenhower broke with tradition by wearing a black Homburg to both his inaugurations in 1953 and 1957.  Ike caused quite the stir when he did this, for Homburgs were considered a “dressy everyday hat,” not a dress hat.  He broke tradition further, causing apoplexy in the industry, by putting side creases in his Homburg, along with the traditional center crease on top.[5] 

On top of that, sales of silk hats had long been in decline.   They had faded during the Great Depression, but experienced a brief resurgence in the 1930s with the repeal of Prohibition.  Sales tanked again with the start of World War II.[6]  According to John Reinitz, a manufacturer of silk hats in New York City, prices went up more than 200 percent, presumably due to the unavailability of French silk hatter’s plush.  Turnover was small, and larger stores declined to stock the hats.  By 1955, Reinitz noted that Opera Hats, the collapsible top hat we associate with magicians today, became the go-to hat for men looking for a formal hat.[7]

Kennedy decided to let his inaugural committee decide whether or not to don a top hat.  Edward H. Foley, chairman of the inaugural committee, noted the committee would investigate if a top hat inaugural was traditional.  Kennedy reportedly added, “You do what’s traditional.”[8]  The answer, to the hatting industry’s relief, came soon enough.  By early December, word was leaked from Kennedy’s tailor, Samuel Harris, that he would indeed stand with tradition and wear a silk top hat for the inauguration.[9]

Now that it was clear Kennedy would indeed wear a silk top hat for his inauguration, the question of who would make the hat for Kennedy became a hot issue.  It’s no surprise that the largest manufacturers competed for the honor.  The John B. Stetson Co. commissioned Hyman Gelfer of the John Reinitz Co. of New York City to make a silk hat for Kennedy to wear.  Danbury, Connecticut’s, Mayor John Define Jr. announced that an unnamed Danbury company would make the inaugural hat.  Hat Corporation of America jumped into the fray with the announcement that their silk hatter, William Schnautz, would make hats not only for Kennedy, but also for his brother Robert and Vice-president-elect Lyndon B. Johnson.  Would it be the Philadelphia/NYC teamup that won the competition, or a Connecticut firm from Danbury or Norwalk?  In terms of seniority, Hyman Gelfer had 30 more years of experience than William Schnautz, but Schnautz claimed seniority over any silk hatter in Danbury.[10]  That the Hat Corporation of America order was placed with Cavanagh Hats in New York City doesn’t seem surprising, considering their reputation as the finest hats in the country.[11]  Schnautz seemed to have the inside track within the industry, as the Hat Institute of America and the United Hatters, Cap, and Millinery Workers union placed the order.[12]

It didn’t necessarily matter to the hatting industry as to which firm won the competition, as they considered themselves to be winners all the way around.  Orders were reportedly flooding in for high silk hats so that Washington, D.C., could be ready come January 20, 1961.  High silk hats had not been dictated at an inauguration since Harry Truman’s in 1949.[13]  

The American public first learned the winner of the inaugural hatter’s competition on January 19, 1961, one day before the inauguration.  On the game show, “What’s My Line,” William Schnautz was revealed to be the hatter who made the Cavanagh top hat that Kennedy would wear the next day.[14]


William Schnautz[15]

Prior to the inauguration, Kennedy prepared for the event from his suite at the Hotel Carlyle in New York City.  There, Schnautz and John Garside, a hat-fitter for Cavanagh Hats, arrived with for a twenty-minute fitting with the President-elect, bringing with them five different silk top hats of varying sizes and ovals.  Since silk hats are stiff hats, there is no flex to their fit, and thus must be conformed to the wearer’s head if they are to be comfortably worn.  As it turned out, two different size 7 ½ regular oval hats fit Kennedy perfectly without any adjustments needed.[16]  One hat featured a five-and-a-half-inch tall crown, while the other had a five-inch crown.[17]  From photos it looks like Kennedy may have chosen the taller hat, but it is difficult to tell for sure.  I do not have any public domain photos, or else I would post them here.  A few Associated Press file photos of JFK wearing his top hat to the inauguration can be viewed here:


As you can see from the photos, Kennedy removed his hat for the swearing in and his inaugural address, and it is primarily from these photos that the myth that Kennedy did not wear a hat to his inauguration arises, as part of the larger mythos that Kennedy killed hats, one that was certainly perpetuated by the hatting industry.  They needed a scapegoat, and Kennedy, their would-be savior, ended up being in that position.

The revival of silk hat sales that hatters had hoped Kennedy would bring them never materialized.  The Kennedy inauguration was the last bit of glory they would ever see.  By 1962, William Schnautz toiled on, along with Mary Wargo and George Cuneo, the last of Hat Corporation of America’s silk hatters.  Working together on the top floor of the Norwalk factory, they turned out less that 500 silk top hats a year; if sales were good, that is.  But generally, sales were down all the way around.  Hat Corporation of America’s president, Charles Salesky, pointed out that more hats were sold during any year of the Great Depression than in either 1960 or 1961.[18]

Kennedy continued to be pressured to wear hats by the industry.  His old wartime Navy buddy, Al Webb, who served with Kennedy on PT-109, was Vice-President of Sales of the Cavanagh division of Hat Corporation of America.  Webb approached Kennedy in 1961 about wearing hats more often.  He presented him with a Cavanagh snap-brim fedora, which Kennedy was photographed holding on April 21, 1961 while meeting with former President Eisenhower.[19]


President John F. Kennedy and Former President General Dwight D. Eisenhower
Kennedy is holding his Cavanagh Hat.
Photo by Robert L. Knudsen[20]

On a final note, Kennedy’s Cavanagh fedora, ostensibly the one given to him by Al Webb, sold at auction on November 23, 2013.  It was initially estimated to go between $15,000 and $30,000 by the auction house, and the opening bid was set at $7,000.  The winning bid: $7,500.  The hat can be viewed here: http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/21572423_john-f-kennedys-cavanagh-fedora

Today, JFK is still so dissociated from hats that even his personal hat from the time of his presidency brings little interest.   Even if Kennedy had survived the assassination, he would not have brought back a mass return to hat-wearing by American men, and no matter what the hatting industry thought of his hatlessness, Kennedy cannot be blamed for a trend that started long before he was born.  As it stands, Kennedy's legacy regarding hats in American culture is a strong one, for the pressure brought to bear on him to wear hats at all, much less to his inauguration, stands as a pivot point in time.  On January 20, 1961, the man who ushered in the Space Race and thus the modern Technological Age, for a brief, shining moment, marked the occasion by dressing, anachronistically, in the style of an earlier century, of the Industrial Age, and he topped it all off with a high silk Cavanagh hat.

~The Hatted Professor


[1] Bertram Reinitz, “New York Faces a Hatless Fad,” The New York Times, September 9, 1928.

[2] Neil Steinberg, Hatless Jack: The President, the Fedora, and the History of an American Style (New York: Penguin, 2004), pp. 35–36.

[3] “U.S. President Loses Right to His Privacy,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 11, 1960, Sec. 1, p. 2, accessed October 5, 2013, http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=9Q1ZAAAAIBAJ&sjid=P2wDAAAAIBAJ&pg=7267,2782764

[4] Alicia Armstrong, “Should John Kennedy Go High Hat?” The Milwaukee Journal, November 17, 1960, Part Three, p. 8, accessed October 5, 2013,

[5] “Top Hatter: JFK Breaking Ike Tradition by ‘Stovepipe,” The Pittsburgh Press, December 9, 1960, p. 28, accessed October 5, 2013,

[6] Ward Cannel, “Why Hatters Are Mad,” The Altus Times-Democrat, Altus, OK, October 16, 1962, p. 4, accessed October 5, 2013,

[7] Grace T. Sayman, “Looking at New York,” The Virgin Islands Daily News, March 16, 1955, p. 4, accessed October 5, 2013,

[8] “Kennedy Allows Committee to Decide Silk Hat Issue,” The News and Courier, Charleston, SC, November 30, 1960, p. 10-C, accessed October 5, 2013,

[9] “JFK To Wear Top Hat And Cutaway Coat,” Meriden Record, December 9, 1960, p. 22, accessed October 5, 2013,

[10] “Rival Companies Vie For Kennedy’s Favor,” New Haven Sunday Herald, December 18, 1960, p. SC-20, accessed October 5, 2013, http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=FZAyAAAAIBAJ&sjid=4QAGAAAAIBAJ&pg=5887,5528839

[11] “JFK Chapeau Stirs Tempest in Top Hat,” The Norwalk Hour, December 13, 1960, p. 2, accessed October 5, 2013, http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=KKiikWAUrRgC&dat=19601213&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

[12] “Rival Companies Vie For Kennedy’s Favor,” New Haven Sunday Herald, December 18, 1960, p. SC-20, accessed October 5, 2013, http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=FZAyAAAAIBAJ&sjid=4QAGAAAAIBAJ&pg=5887,5528839

[13] “Rival Companies Vie For Kennedy’s Favor,” New Haven Sunday Herald, December 18, 1960, p. SC-20, accessed October 5, 2013, http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=FZAyAAAAIBAJ&sjid=4QAGAAAAIBAJ&pg=5887,5528839

[14] “Salesky Sees Upturn in Business Trend,” The Norwalk Hour, February 21, 1961, p. 45, accessed October 5, 2013, http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=KKiikWAUrRgC&dat=19610221&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

[15] Bramac, Hour Photo, “Designer of Top Hat For Kennedy”, The Norwalk Hour, December 16, 1960, p. 1, accessed October 5, 2013,

[16] “Kennedy Shows He Knows Hats,” The Norwalk Hour, January 19, 1961, pp. 1-2, accessed October 5, 2013, http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=KKiikWAUrRgC&dat=19610119&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

[17] Neil Steinberg, Hatless Jack: The President, the Fedora, and the History of an American Style (New York: Penguin, 2004), pp. 84–85.

[18] Ward Cannel, “Why Hatters Are Mad,” The Altus Times-Democrat, Altus, OK, October 16, 1962, p. 4, accessed October 5, 2013,

[19] “Kennedy Presidential Library Opens the John Saltonstall and Al Webb Collections,” John F, Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, accessed November 26, 2013,

[20] Robert L. Knudsen, “KN-C17598. President John F. Kennedy and Former President General Dwight D. Eisenhower”, accessed November 26, 2013, http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-KN-C17598.aspx

Monday, July 29, 2013

Status Update: New Website!

I know you'd rather hear some interesting information about hat history, but I have something else of importance to tell you about today. I've been working on a new website that's related to this blog, and is an offshoot, in many ways. I realized early on that this blog, while allowing me to share information with you, didn't allow me to organize the information as I wanted to, in any kind of coherent way. For that I realized I needed a regular website, so I bought a domain and began building.

The site, The Hatted Professor, is still under construction, and I've migrated some of the information from this blog to there. I will also be offering new information, as you'll see by the menu options available. I will continue to use the blog, but more for the purposes for which blogs were intended, while also continuing the build The Hatted Professor into the most comprehensive repository of information on Crofut & Knapp and related companies on the Internet.

Perhaps the most exciting feature is the Employees List. Because of and through this blog, I've been contacted by many folks whose family members or ancestors worked for Crofut & Knapp, and they wanted to share their stories with me. The Employees List is a way for anyone to upload family stories of a former employee and share that information with the world. The workers in the factories and retail outlets were just as important to C&K history as James Knapp, John Cavanagh, or Robert A. Holmes, and their stories should be preserved as part of that legacy. It's a rudimentary database for now, but as it grows in time, it will also change into a much more sophisticated entity, and perhaps become the most important page on the site.

So, check it out, and let me know how I'm doing, what you like and don't like, and what improvements I can make. I've added Facebook Comments for you to leave comments there, and I've even got my own e-mail address for the site. All of this should facilitate better communication rather than through Facebook Messaging or the Comments on this blog.

Thanks,

Brad, The Hatted Professor

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dobbs & Co.

The end of the first decade of the twentieth century was a whirlwind one for Crofut & Knapp.  That decade, along with most of the next, have been labeled the Progressive Era by historians because of political, economic, and social reforms, but “progressive” was also a buzzword that Crofut & Knapp would use to describe their innovations during that time.  In terms of progressiveness, 1901 to 1906 had been eventful for Crofut & Knapp.  Their lineup had been rebranded with the new Knapp-Felt and Knapp-Felt De Luxe lines of hats, John Cavanagh had reintroduced soft felt hats at the same time, along with new and innovative national advertising, and a risky venture into new methods of national distribution.1  Straw hats would be added to their catalog two years later.2  Among all their bold moves in the ‘Oughts, one in particular stands out from the rest, a move that would turn out to be a success in ways the company possibly never intended.  That move is the formation of Dobbs & Company.  To understand why Crofut & Knapp created a new company and brand, we need to first examine changes happening in the hatting industry at the time.

Crofut & Knapp reorganized in 1907, issuing 250,000 shares of preferred stock, and 250,000 shares of common stock, setting them on a firm financial footing.[3]    It would come at an opportune time.  The Panic of 1907 triggered a recession that lasted until 1910, which served to produce a downward pressure on prices.  At the same time, there was upward pressure on hat production costs.[4]  Strikes hit the C&K factory between 1907 and 1909 over issues such as the discontinuance of the use of the United Hatters of North America union label, and strikes for better wages.  In 1907 hat manufacturers threatened to discontinue the use of the union label if UHNA did not agree to removing restrictions on the use of machinery in the factories, and to relax regulations on the employment of non-union boys.  The union capitulated, but two years later the manufacturers removed it anyway.[5]  Workers at C&K walked out on strike when the company refused to give raises to the both the soft hat trimmers and stiff hat finishers.  C&K brought in strikebreakers, particularly women for the trimming room, from Boston and Philadelphia, offering $12.00 per week plus room and board.  The Associated Hat Manufacturers gathered in New York City on January 14, 1909, and voted to discontinue the use of the union label in all factories represented by the Association.  This would affect seventy-five factories and up to 25,000 workers.  Workers at affected factories in Danbury, New York, Orange, NJ, and Philadelphia immediately walked out upon hearing the news.  Crofut & Knapp’s factory was the only one in South Norwalk to be a member of the Association, and their 700 men, women, and boy workers joined the strike, shutting down production.[6] 

On February 8, 1909 Crofut & Knapp kicked the United Hatters of North America to the curb with the decision to run a non-union shop, and invited all of its employees back.[7]  Fifteen employees were working in the factory on February 9, none of them union members.  Company officers, including Philip N. Knapp and John Cavanagh were working on the factory floor to meet production orders.  Other factories of the Associated Hat manufacturers also resumed business on that day as open shops.[8]  The strikes were costly to Crofut & Knapp in terms of lost business.  Because of limited availability of product due to periodic factory shutdowns, at least two of C&K’s biggest accounts were lost.  The shutdown in 1909 as a result of discontinuance of the union label, and the union along with it, lasted three months.[9]  High-end retailers Rogers, Peet & Company and Maurice Rothschild dropped their business with C&K.[10]  Both companies would eventually return as C&K customers, as evidenced by the many existing hats branded for their stores.

At the same time that American hat manufacturers were facing labor problems at home, they also faced increased competition from overseas hat manufacturers, whose lower labor costs translated into cheaper or “popular-price” hats in the United States.  American manufacturers successfully lobbied Congress in 1908 to raise the tariff on imported hats, hoping to offset the lower prices.  UHNA members worked fifty-hour weeks for a minimum of $18.00 per week, whereas the American manufacturers claimed that English workers, for example, made just over $8.00 per week, resulting in lower-priced imported hats stateside. [11]   Tariffs on these lower-priced hats were included in the Payne-Aldrich Tariff in 1909, though the hat manufacturers went back to Congress in 1921 to try to get tariffs raised on higher-priced hats coming in from Italian, Czech, Austrian, English, and French hat makers.[12]

By the twentieth century, retailing of hats took two different paths to the consumer.  The first and oldest method was through the hat department in the menswear section of general department stores.  When a man would shop for a new suit of clothes in a department store, he could conveniently pick up a brand new hat for the upcoming season.  Department stores represented the primary place for men to purchase their hats.  A second retail source existed in the form of the hat store, devoted almost exclusively to men’s hats, though other masculine accoutrements might also be obtained there, such as umbrellas, gloves, and other leather goods.  The hat store was the more recent of the two retail developments.[13]

In either case, the retail establishment was within the purview of the jobbers, or wholesalers, who placed factories’ wares for sale through franchise agreements.  It was in the cutting of this Gordian knot, with C&K replacing the middlemen and offering their hats to exclusive agents around the eastern half of the United States, that C&K made enemies, and ultimately made them the victors. 

Jobbers had a tendency to depress demand for quality products, and Crofut & Knapp wanted to do nothing to compromise the quality of their product.  Crofut & Knapp may have been the first hat manufacturer to throw off the jobbers’ yoke, but they weren’t alone in the midst of this retail upheaval.  By 1910, many trades were throwing off the jobber’s yoke.  Textiles, drugs, hardware, jewelry, technical products, even plumbing, were giving jobbers the old heave-ho.[14] 

The impetus for the creation of Dobbs & Co. ostensibly comes from the abandonment of the jobbers, or at least that was always John Cavanagh’s assertion.  C&K wanted to cut the cord from the jobbers and sell directly to retailers.  At the same time, they apparently had interest in creating their own store to exclusively retail the products from their factory.[15]  One version of Cavanagh’s telling of the Dobbs story has it that customers were unable to get C&K hats due to franchise restrictions. [16]  It is entirely plausible that in telling the jobbers to get lost, C&K made enemies out of them and was unable to secure the franchise agreements they desired in New York City and other cities.  However, another factor may be the strikes between 1907 and 1909.  The Crofut & Knapp Company was a growing up-and-comer at the time, and may have been regarded as throwing their weight around against the Hatter’s Union.  That may have translated into pro-union, anti-C&K sentiment in New York City and prohibited them from obtaining the franchise agreements.  After all, C&K had long exclusively provided helmets to the police and fire departments in New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia.[17]  In the nineteenth century, Spellman’s was C&K’s retailer in New York City.[18]  John Spellman had contracts to supply the helmets to the New York City Police Department, so the C&K helmets probably came through Spellman’s.[19]  Because of this connection, Tammany Hall may have played a role in preventing the franchises.

Financial difficulties could have figured into the Dobbs, situation, with the costs of the strikes, occasional limited product availability, along with the loss of important accounts cutting into revenues.  And, by continuing to put out a high-quality product, C&K would have been trying to maximize profits by cutting out the middlemen and creating their own retail outlet.

But why Dobbs & Co.?  Why not create a Crofut & Knapp store, instead of a separate corporation to operate the retail store?  This is a puzzling question with no easy answer.   H. DeWitt Dobbs, the man who gave his name to the company, is a bit of an enigma.  Very little information has come to light on him; even in Crofut & Knapp publications he is barely mentioned.  Whereas John Cavanagh became a star among America’s hatters and received plenty of mention in the press, Dobbs received little at all. 

Henry DeWitt Dobbs was born June 22, 1858, the same year as the Crofut & Knapp partnership.[20]  Although his name became synonymous with New York hats, the family name also has a prominent place in New York history for another reason, as his ancestors had founded Dobbs Ferry, NY.  His uncle worked for Dunlap & Co., and that is probably how he came to work as a hatter.[21]  He worked for another hatter, Dunlap & Co., in New York City for twenty-eight years before being snatched away by John Cavanagh and Robert A. Holmes.  At the time of his departure from Dunlap & Co. in July 1908, he was the manager of their Fifth Avenue outlet store.[22]  This would also be Dobbs’ position at the new store, though he was also president of Dobbs & Co.[23]   Besides having extensive experience running a retail hat shop, H. DeWitt Dobbs’ father, William H. Dobbs, had been one of the Sachems, or leaders, in Tammany Hall, and if DeWitt Dobbs had political connections, that may have been a deciding factor in his being hired.[24]  In any case, DeWitt Dobbs remained in the background when it came to publicity, almost as a silent figurehead, though I’m sure he was active in helping to run the company.  DeWitt’s son, William H. Dobbs, also joined Dobbs & Co. shortly after World War I and remained with the company until 1932.[25]  H. DeWitt Dobbs died in either 1926 or 1927; his obscurity is such that even the year is not exactly known.[26]


*The C&K Book, 31.

While the company featured Dobbs’ name, it was almost certainly the brainchild of John Cavanagh and Robert A. Holmes.  Cavanagh usually took the credit, but considering the integral role Holmes played in the company’s marketing, and that the entire idea of Dobbs & Co. was built around a marketing scheme, Holmes should probably be equally credited.[27]  Dobbs & Co. served several purposes at once for C&K.  First, it gave them a retail outlet of their own in New York City.  Second, it did not appear on the surface, at least, to come with any political baggage C&K may have had, and again, it is possible DeWitt Dobbs was in a position to offer some political muscle.  Third, it presented Cavanagh and Holmes with a blank slate with which to conduct a radical retail experiment without the liability to C&K, as all the liability resided in the new corporation.  If the idea failed, the new corporation would take the fall.  Ironically enough, part of the concept to come out of the Dobbs & Co. experiment would turn out to be a smashing success by any standard, but the company would still fail in the other part of its experiment, sending the Dobbs & Co. into bankruptcy in 1931.[28]

Dobbs & Co. was designed from the start to be a retail outlet for Crofut & Knapp products, including the $3.00 low-price Crofut & Knapp line, the $4.00 Knapp-Felt line, and the $6.00 Knapp-Felt De Luxe line.  The shop opened on September 15, 1908 at 242 Fifth Avenue – there could be no better location with the same cachet for selling the high-quality C&K products than on “The Avenue.”[29]  

Dobbs & Co. and their hats, whether branded for Crofut & Knapp or Dobbs Fifth Avenue, were meant to appeal to a clientele of high-class buyers, who would appreciate not only the hats, but the shop on Fifth Avenue where they were sold.  When it came to finding representatives throughout the country who would sell their hats, Dobbs & Co. wanted to only deal with the “most prominent and exclusive hatters of the various communities.”[30]  But how do you convince someone a thousand or more miles away to carry your hats?  Robert A. Holmes and Dobbs & Co. set out to prove to their potential dealers that Dobbs means quality.  

Their advertising campaign began by mailing a twelve-page book, about ten inches by thirteen inches in size, to all of their potential upscale dealers.  These were no mere catalogs, however.  Each book was printed on heavy, Italian, handmade paper, with a three-color cover.  On the cover was the potential dealer’s name, hand-lettered by a master draftsman, along with the territory the representative would be given.  Each book was personally signed by H. DeWitt Dobbs.  Inside the book were four full-page illustrations with protective tissue between them, as was common in the day.  Inside the front cover was a signed etching by artist Earl Horter of the front of the Dobbs & Co. store at 242 Fifth Avenue.  Further illustrations featured the interior of the store, a picture of the Dobbs & Co. hat box, and an interior of a Dobbs hat showing how the Dobbs & Co. logo and the dealer’s own logo would be positioned in the crown.  Each book was sent out by registered mail in two envelopes, with the inner envelope also being handmade Italian paper.  The cost of each book to Dobbs & Co. was $6.00.  It was designed specifically to impress, and impress it did.  By 1912, 75 percent of the potential dealers who received the book in the mail signed up to be their city or territory’s exclusive Dobbs dealer.[31] 

Each dealer was also offered, for use in their storefront displays, a framed, signed print of an engraving by the artist Rudolph Ruzicka of that stretch of Fifth Avenue featuring the Dobbs & Co. store.  A similar idea was applied to the new Dobbs Hat boxes, whose colorful artwork wrapping around the exterior of the box seamlessly showcased the block of Fifth Avenue between Twenty-Seventh and Twenty-Eighth Streets.  The only visible sign on any building was, of course, that of Dobbs & Co.  The boxes were the brainchild of Crofut & Knapp’s advertising genius, Robert A. Holmes, who realized the advertising potential of an attractive, colorful hat box.[32]  They were so successful that in 1915 Crofut & Knapp adopted similar colorful artwork for their own Knapp-Felt and C&K lines.[33]
*Earnest Elmo Calkins, “Going After the Dealer with Atmosphere,” 7-8.

Crofut & Knapp’s competitors in this new, high-quality, retail arena were two well-established brands, Stetson and Knox.  Though the John B. Stetson Company was younger than C&K by seven years, the brand had become a huge success with the customer for whom a hat was utilitarian, hence its big markets in the West and South, areas that C&K had yet to reach.  Knox, on the other hand, held an air of class and distinction for the East Coast business executive, effectively cornering that market.  C&K needed a niche they could exploit, and they found one in young men just starting to make their mark in the world.  By targeting both their advertising and their product at this more sporting and youthful demographic from that of either Stetson or Knox, C&K hoped to open up this new market by appealing to young men’s growing sense of “fashion and sophistication.”[34]

The new Dobbs Fifth Avenue store was an integral part of this plan, coupled with the mass merchandising campaign in New York City, and in any city that had a Dobbs agency.  Dobbs Fifth Avenue was designed to “establish the Dobbs hat in the consciousness of the well-dressed New Yorker and all that Fifth Avenue means to the outside world…to impress the dealers throughout the country with this acceptance by these fashion dictators, and… to demonstrate to these dealers a set of radically different hat merchandising methods.”[35]

If the phrase “Fashion is fleeting, style is forever,” applies to anyone, it has to be C&K and Dobbs Fifth Avenue.  And yet, the whole idea behind the hats retailed at Dobbs & Co., both C&K and Dobbs, was for the company to be dictators of fashion.  The hats at Dobbs & Co. were to be limited to three well-defined grades of quality and price.  Initially intended as an outlet for Knapp-Felt hats, the Dobbs & Co. store also carried a house brand of hats, Dobbs Fifth Avenue.  They were situated in the middle price of $5.00 between the Knapp-Felt line at $4.00 and Knapp-Felt De Luxe line at $6.00.[36]  Dobbs Fifth Avenue would become so wildly successful that it would eventually surpass any of Crofut & Knapp’s other brands in terms of sales.[37] 

Previous hat manufacturers offered a variety of models, which varied only slight from year to year.  C&K and Dobbs went in a different direction, offering the consumer only three or four different models each year, but each year the model changed in some radical manner.  Thus, C&K and Dobbs & Co. became dictators of fashion, setting the standard year after year for what was in style that season.  And to their credit, the concept worked.  Dobbs Fifth Avenue soon became the brand that young, swanky men everywhere wore, and whatever crown height, brim width or flange, or even style of bow Dobbs offered became the style to have or to emulate.  Through their massive advertising and their impressive retail store, Dobbs had become a trendsetter, not just in New York City, but in any of a thousand cities across the country where a retail agency offered Dobbs Fifth Avenue hats for sale.  Crofut & Knapp had found their niche. 

I would offer one last comment on the success of Dobbs over its older, more established siblings, Crofut & Knapp and Knapp-Felt.  Merchandising and fashion aside, I suspect the simplicity of a one-word brand name has a subconscious impact on consumers.  Look at the majority of hat brands that enjoyed success in the twentieth century: Stetson, Knox, Cavanagh, Lee, Mallory, Champ, Adam, Schoble, Resistol, and Dobbs.  Now look at automotive brands, or consumer electronic brands.  The most successful have a simple, one-word name, usually from a founder of the company.  One-word names are catchier, easy to remember.  Knapp-Felt isn’t quite as catchy, and Crofut & Knapp far more complex.  Anyone unfamiliar with the brand might stumble over the pronunciation of Crofut.  I suspect some of the popularity of the Dobbs brand can be claimed from the simplicity of its name alone.  After all, out of all of the Crofut & Knapp/Hat Corporation of America brands, Cavanagh, Knox, and Dobbs are still in mass production today, though Knox hats are exclusive to Levine Hats in St. Louis, Missouri.  Arena Brands, through their subsidiary RHE Hatco, Inc., still manufacture these brands today in Garland, Texas, along with their flagship western brands, Stetson and Resistol.  It’s a testament to the forethought of John Cavanagh, Robert A. Holmes, Philip N. Knapp, and H. DeWitt Dobbs, that the brand they created, Dobbs Fifth Avenue, has been in continual production since 1908. 

The new Dobbs & Co. store, also commonly referred to as The Knapp-Felt Store, lest anyone should forget the name of the parent company, was very English in its design, featuring lots of mahogany showcases with doors made of leaded glass.  What made the store most noteworthy, according to The Edison Monthly, was its modern electric lighting arranged in groups and rows, and was the “first store to be equipped with tungsten lamps placed at an angle.”[38]   Success breeds growth, and the store at 242 Fifth Avenue soon needed more space.  By the end of 1914, Dobbs & Co. leased the larger building next door at 244 Fifth Avenue, and moved in sometime in early 1915.[39]
*The C&K Book, 34.

Dobbs & Co. was about more than hats, though.  From the beginning, they were a fledgling department store, or as the company proclaimed, a “Men’s Shop with Tailored Things for Women.”[40]  As the company continued to grow in both size and prestige, more shops were needed.  To that end, Dobbs & Co. opened a new uptown showcase store at 620 Fifth Avenue on May 1, 1917, and shortly thereafter added connected space from neighboring buildings at 618 Fifth Avenue and 2 West Fiftieth, where two floors were devoted to women’s sports apparel.  The second floor of 620 also served the women’s department.[41]  In the men’s section, one could purchase hats, hat cases, canes, gloves, neckties, shirts, coats, sportswear, and suits. Women could shop for hats, sportswear, and almost any other item of apparel.  Dobbs and Co. had become a full-fledged department store, and the future looked bright indeed.[42] 
*The C&K Book, 34.

The fifth floor at 620 became the new salesroom and office for Crofut & Knapp’s hats.  The entire floor was open and unpartitioned, with only an ornamental bronze railing separating the viewing room from the offices.  Large windows along the front and back walls let in natural sunlight in which to view the hats’ true colors, and the walls were lined with mahogany showcases designed to replicate the look of street-side storefront windows.  The middle of the room was occupied by tables where customers to sit down to examine their potential purposes.  The room was well-lit, and the blue rugs throughout offered a “cheerful touch of color,” to the otherwise modest setting.[43]

At some point between January and February of 1927, the store at 244 Fifth Avenue relocated to 324 Fifth Avenue.[44]  By 1931, Dobbs & Co. also had stores at 169 Broadway and 285 Madison Avenue.[45]  Along with the four New York City stores, two branches had been opened by 1924 on Long Island and Palm Beach.[46] 

John Cavanagh, always innovating, always seeking for more efficient ways of doing business, and always looking for new markets, combined all three in April 1935 when Dobbs inaugurated the first air shipment of American-made hats to South America with a flight of Dobbs Hats bound for Buenos Aires.  Using the latest in technology, an autogiro carried the shipment from South Norwalk to Newark, where an Eastern Airlines airplane carried them to Miami, bound for a Pan Am Clipper seaplane heading to South America.  John Cavanagh was enthusiastic that this fast transportation would open up new business opportunities for the company.[47]

The success of the store was only marred a couple of times, first, by a fire in February 1925 that killed a fireman and forced the store to clearance off smoke-damaged goods.[48]  The second was when Dobbs & Co. and Crofut & Knapp were forced to relocate from 620 Fifth Avenue in 1928, as the building was to be demolished and later make way for what is now the British Empire Building at Rockefeller Center.  It was this second event that was to almost prove the undoing of Dobbs & Co.

In January 1928, Dobbs & Co. signed a long-term lease for three buildings on the corner of Fifth Avenue at West Fifty-Seventh Street, site of the former Vanderbilt Chateau, with the combined properties to be known as the Dobbs Building.[49]  The buildings were designed by the firm of Buchman & Kahn, with interior design by the S. S. Silver Company.[50]  Opened on October 16, the eight-story, white marble buildings were impressive, with nineteen window showcases presenting Dobbs & Co.’s wares to the Avenue. The interior was designed to be just as awe-inspiring.  The entrance hall was a showpiece of Italian Renaissance architecture, featuring both marble and Caen limestone from France, hand-painted ceilings, brilliantly lit with platinum and gold chandeliers and lights.  A Persian Rug stretched over forty feet down floor of the entrance hall.  Separate arched doors led to the men’s and women’s hat rooms, respectively, and between them on the wall hung a seventeenth-century Teniers tapestry, “The Wine Reapers.”[51]  The new store was truly upscale, but they paid dearly for it.  Their annual rent for the building was $410,000, a princely sum even at today’s rates.

As if to flaunt their store as being worthy of the Avenue, Dobbs & Co. brought in the finest merchandise.  In 1930, for example, their storefront showcased six Panama hats worth $1,000 apiece.  Only thirteen Inca Indian weavers living in Monte Cristi, Ecuador, were said to be able to make hats of that quality.  The hats were so fine they weighed between half an ounce to an ounce in weight, and took three months to weave.  The New Yorker reckoned Dobbs set a record, as the most expensive Panama hats known to have previously been offered for sale in New York City were only $500, and purchased by the likes of Flo Ziegfeld, among others.[52] 

To say the store was expensive to operate is certainly an understatement.  Operating expenses had to have been huge, with the lease alone amounting to more than $34,000 a month.  To that end Dobbs & Co. borrowed money from the shareholder of their stock, Cavanagh-Dobbs, Inc.  Cavanagh-Dobbs was the new holding corporation John Cavanagh formed in 1928 to consolidate Crofut & Knapp and Dobbs & Co.[53]  Between October 31, 1929, and October 31, 1930, Dobbs & Co. borrowed a total of $1,149,457.70, a particularly poor time to be borrowing money.  Between their heavy expenses and the Great Depression, Dobbs & Co. was doomed.  They were only able to pay back $80,702.43, so Cavanagh-Dobbs filed for voluntary bankruptcy reorganization of Dobbs & Co. on May 26, 1931.  Cavanagh-Dobbs was claiming the owed balance of $1,206,279,27.  Other creditors were owed almost $140,000, and of that, $100,000 was for merchandise, including C&K and Dobbs hats, as well as for all the clothing and accessories they sold.  Their assets were listed at $1,218,287.25, including over $635,000 in fixtures and furniture.[54]  The receivers, Irving Trust Company, quickly held a liquidation sale at all of the Dobbs stores.  Enthusiastic crowds thronged the stores to such an extent that the police were called in to keep order.[55]

Rumors must have been flying regarding the financial soundness of all companies involved, prompting Cavanagh-Dobbs to release an official statement regarding the bankruptcy: 

The financial difficulties of Dobbs & Co. do not involve Cavanaugh [sic]-Dobbs, Inc., or any of its other affiliates.  Dobbs & Co. is strictly a retail organization operating only in New York City, which, among other lines, has sold hats manufactured under the Dobbs name by the Crofut & Knapp Company, one of our affiliates. 

The financial difficulties of Dobbs & Co. were occasioned by the current business depression and the expansion of Dobbs & Co.’s activities as a high-class department store.

Despite the general business decline, Cavanagh-Dobbs, Inc., and its other affiliates are in an exceptionally strong financial position.  Since these companies have always operated independently of one another, the bankruptcy of Dobbs & Co. will have no effect on the others, who are continuing business on an absolutely sound basis.

Dobbs hats will continue to be sold by the same dealers who are now carrying them with the exception, of course of the present Dobbs & Co. owned stores and the manufacture and distribution of Dobbs hats have not in any way been impaired by the recent bankruptcy action.[56]

The remaining assets of Dobbs & Co., consisting of approximately $250,000 in accounts receivable, and $59,000 in merchandise, were sold on June 12, 1931 to Industrial Intermediary, Inc., for $324,583.[57]  Industrial Intermediary was suspected of acting as agent on behalf of Cavanagh-Dobbs, though this was downplayed at the sale.[58]  By August the stores in New York City were closed, with the exception of a lone Fifth Avenue store, but the flagship store at Fifth Avenue and Fifty-Seventh Street, which had caused the downfall in the first place, was shuttered.[59]

Dobbs & Co. didn’t remain down for long.  Over a year later, on September 13, 1932, John Cavanagh personally opened a new Dobbs & Co. store at 711 Fifth Avenue.  Fellow Fifth Avenue merchants and members of the Fifth Avenue Association chose the occasion to celebrate John Cavanagh and commemorate his forty years in the hat industry.  The merchants presented Cavanagh with a silver plaque that read, “In recognition of his many contributions to the ancient and honorable craft of hatmaking – his leadership in the field of quality merchandising – this acknowledgment is made by his friends and associates on the occasion of the opening of the Dobbs shop at 711 Fifth Avenue.”  Guests were treated to rides in a Whitney four-wheel coach, painted in dark blue, canary, and white, and drawn by a team of two fine black horses with canary ribbons tied around their tails. [60]  This was the first appearance of the carriage to be associated with Dobbs, and it was to become a lasting icon for Dobbs Fifth Avenue hats.  After the celebration, the coach and team were put to use delivering hats throughout New York City.[61]  It is unknown how long the coach was used for this service, but the image became so firmly associated with Dobbs and featured in their promotional advertisements and in their hats, that it is still in use today by the current Dobbs brand.

I do not yet know when the last Dobbs & Co. store closed.  It might have occurred around the time the Hat Corporation of America brands were sold to Koracorp in 1972, or possibly 1970, with the closing of the Norwalk factory.  The last store might not have even survived the Sixties.  In any event, the famed retailer passed from Fifth Avenue and the American scene and into the annals of history.  Looking back at Crofut & Knapp’s history, as we consider all the innovations of James H. Knapp, his son Philip N. Knapp, John Cavanagh, Robert A. Holmes, even the mysterious H. DeWitt Dobbs, one thing lives on in 2012, one-hundred and four years later: Dobbs Fifth Avenue hats can still be purchased at hat stores today.  This brand, created as a new retailing angle in the crowded hat market of New York City, designed from the start to be a high-quality brand for high-class gentleman and sporting young up-and-comers, is undoubtedly their best, lasting legacy to America’s hatting industry, retailers, and hat wearers the world over.  Long Live Dobbs!



[1] The Crofut & Knapp Company, The C&K Book (The Crofut & Knapp Co: New York, 1924), 19-23.
[2] The C&K Book, 8.
[3] “John Cavanagh, 93, Passes Away,” The Norwalk Hour, January 24, 1957, p. 15.
[4] House Committee on Ways and Means, Tariff Information, 1921, Hearings on General Tariff Revision Before the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, Part V, Schedule 5 – Sundries, Free List, 60th Cong. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1921), 2560-2562.
[5] Donald B. Robinson, Spotlight on a Union: The Story of the United Hatters, Cap and Millinery Workers International Union (New York: The Dial Press, 1948), 95
[6] “No More Union Labels in Hats is Makers’ Order,” The Day, January 15, 1909, 1.
[7] “South Norwalk Hatters Start,” The Day, February 8, 1909, 1.
[8] “Many Hat Shops Open,” Boston Evening Transcript, Feb. 9, 1909, 8. 
[9] “John Cavanagh, 93, Passes Away,” 15.
[10] Gloria P. Stewart and Deborah Wing Ray, When Gentlemen Wore Hats (Friends of the Norwalk Museum, Inc,: Norwalk, CT, 2001), 12-13.
[11] House Committee on Ways and Means, Tariff Information, 2560.
[12] House Committee on Ways and Means, Tariff Information, 3322.
[13] J.W. Chadwick, “The Relative Importance of the Hat Department,” The American Hatter, July 1908, 81.
[14] “Throwing off the Jobber’s Yoke”, Printers’ Ink, Vol. 71, No. 2, April 13, 1910, 12.
[15] “John Cavanagh, 93, Passes Away,” 15.
[16] Henry La Cossitt, “They Put Hats on the Choosiest People,” The Saturday Evening Post, March 20, 1954, 150.
[17] Stewart and Ray, When Gentlemen Wore Hats, 10.
[18] Spellman’s Advertisement, The American Hatter, August 1898, 49.
[19] “John H. Spellman,” Obituary, New York Times, November 19, 1904.
[20] H. DeWitt Dobbs, Application for Sons of the American Revolution, Ancestry.com. U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011, http://search.ancestry.com/Browse/view.aspx?dbid=2204&path=176.412&sid=&gskw=Henry
+Dewitt+Dobbs
[21] “Howell Dobbs,” Obituary, New York Times, June 12, 1915.
[22] “Items of Interest,” The American Hatter, July 1908, 82.
[23] The C&K Book, 35.
[24] “Mrs. Sarah A. Day,” Obituary, New York Times, November 29, 1941, 17
[25] “William H. Dobbs Dies at 66; Ex-Aide of Hat Company,” New York Times, March 26, 1967.
[26] Kingston Directory, 1926, (The Price & Lee Co.: New Haven, CT, 1926), 147;
Richmond’s Yonkers Directory, 1927, (R.L. Polk & Co., Inc.: New York, 1927), 253.  H. DeWitt Dobbs is listed in the 1926 city directory, but his wife, Hattie (yes, a hatter married a Hattie), is listed as his widow in the 1927 directory.
[27] La Cossitt, “They Put Hats on the Choosiest People,” 150.
[28] Herschel Deutsch, “Dobbs Fifth Avenue – A Story with a Moral,” Advertising and Selling, August 5, 1931, 21.
[29] The C&K Book, 32.
[30] Earnest Elmo Calkins, “Going After the Dealer with Atmosphere,” Printers’ Ink, Vol. 80, No. 11, September 12, 1912, 3.
[31] Earnest Elmo Calkins, “Going After the Dealer with Atmosphere,” 3-4.
[32] Earnest Elmo Calkins, “Going After the Dealer with Atmosphere,” 7-8.
[33] Robert A. Holmes, “Packages that Sell the Merchandise,” Printers’ Ink, Vol. 90, No. 1, January 7, 1915, 17-20.
[34] Deutsch, “Dobbs Fifth Avenue – A Story with a Moral,” 21.
[35] Deutsch, “Dobbs Fifth Avenue – A Story with a Moral,” 21.
[36] “Dobbs & Co. Hatters”, advertisement, New York Times, October 9, 1914.
[37] This is a claim that is so obvious that it must be made, however, I do not, as of yet, have sales figures to back it up.  I am making this judgment based upon the sheer quantity of Dobbs Hats still in existence that come up for auction or sale, in comparison to the other C&K brands.  That, along with the volume of advertising Dobbs did over the years compared to the other brands shows that they were the company’s mainstream brand.  I hope to rectify the omission of sales figures in the near future.
[38] “The Knapp-Felt Store,” The Edison Monthly, Vol. 1, No. 7, December 1908, 165.
[39] “The Real Estate Field,” New York Times, December 30, 1914.
[40] The C&K Book, 34.
[41] The C&K Book, 32-33.
[42] Deutsch, “Dobbs Fifth Avenue – A Story with a Moral,” 58.
[43] The C&K Book, 30-31.
[44] Dobbs & Co. advertisement, New Yorker, December 18, 1926, 53, and Dobbs & Co. advertisement, New Yorker, March 12, 1927, 80.
[45] “Dobbs & Co. File Bankruptcy Plea,” New York Times, May 27, 1931.
[46] The C&K Book, 34.
[47] “Hats Go to Buenos Aires by Air for First Time,” New York Times, April 6, 1935.
[48] “5th Av. Crowds See Heroic Fire Rescues; One Fireman Killed,” New York Times, February 4, 1925; “The Talk of the Town,” The New Yorker, March 7, 1925, 13.
[49] “To Move Northward,” New York Sun, January 19, 1928, 43.
[50]  “The Talk of the Town,” New Yorker, November 3, 1928, 93.
[51] “Dobbs & Co. Give Pre-View,” New York Times, October 16, 1928.
[52] “The Talk of the Town,” New Yorker, July 5, 1930, 9.
[53] “New Hat Company Formed,” New York Times, April 4, 1928.
[54] “Dobbs & Co. File Bankruptcy Plea,” New York Times, May 27, 1931
[55] Meet on Continuing Dobbs,” New York Times, May 29, 1931.
[56] “Dobbs & Co. File Bankruptcy Plea,” New York Times, May 27, 1931
[57] “Dobbs & Co. Sold,” Wall Street Journal, June 13, 1931, 11.
[58] “Dobbs Business to Be Continued,” Norwalk Hour, June 13, 1931, 1, 3.
[59] Deutsch, “Dobbs Fifth Avenue – A Story with a Moral,” 21.
[60] “5th Avenue Merchants Honor Cavanagh,” New York Times, September 14, 1932.
[61] “John Cavanagh Highly Honored,” Norwalk Hour, September 14, 1932, 1, 6.