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Collections Spotlight: From the Hat Rack!

Jan 14, 2022

It's National Hat Day and it's time to celebrate...because why not? A recent donation from former Delta Captain Connie Bowlin (pictured below) inspired us to show off some of our favorite lids! Up first, well, Connie's of course!Connie Bowlin

Connie began her flying career as a Delta Flight Attendant in 1970, transferred to Flight Operations in 1978 and retired in 2003 as a Delta 767 Captain. Below are examples of hats from both eras of her career! On top is a Hunstsman-style white canvas hat worn with the Delta 1969-1970 Summer Stewardess Uniform designed by Harry Gilbert of Lady Simpson. The top finial is missing but those things are so fragile! On the bottom is a Delta female "Navy Style" Pilot hat and hat badge circa 1984. Thanks for the wonderful donation Connie!

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Gift of Connie Bowlin

Connie's career as both a Flight Attendant and Pilot brought up some fond memories of other hats within our collection.  Next up in our National Hat Day celebration are some of our favorite Stewardess caps from all over the Delta family of airlines!

First we have a red cotton, tam-style hat designed by Yves Saint Laurent for Northwest Airlines and worn with a uniform by Fashionaire from 1969 to 1974. So vibrant!

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Gift of Knut Horneland in Memory of Patricia A. Horneland

Next we have a dark tan cap with light tan stitching overall and a brown chiffon chin strap made for the summer 1942 to 1946 Western Airlines uniform. The only way to fly!

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Gift of Charles Quarles 

When discussing classic uniforms, Pan Am must be mentioned. Check out this Pan Am Stewardess uniform cap by Don Loper and Mae Hanauer worn from 1959 to 1965. 

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Gift of Louise Pund Miller

Cannot forget Delta! This vintage cap below was recently donated by former Delta Stewardess Vernys "Charlie" Brown. It was worn with Delta Winter 1959-1965 uniform designed by Paramount Movie Studios Chief Designer Edith Head. 

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Gift of Vernys "Charlie" Brown-Phillips

Pilots have some pretty fancy headwear too! Next down the runway are the folks flying the plane. First cleared for departure is this Northeast Airlines Pilot uniform hat and badge by S. Appel & Co. This one was worn by H. Sloat, a Northeast Airlines pilot based at BTV (Burlington, Vermont).

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Gift of Charles Quarles

Catch this look if you can...another classic from Pan Am! Below is a black brimmed white pilot cap with gold chinstrap circa 1991. The gold embroidered laurel leaves indicate the rank of captain.

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Pan American World Airways

This Bonanza Airlines Captain's hat and hat badge from 1949 to 1957 is a standout! 

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Delta Flight Museum 

Style wasn't only made for the aisle and cockpit though! The hat game on the ground was equally impressive early on for airlines, as evidenced by the reproduction of a Delta Mechanic uniform hat worn from 1934 to 1945. 

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Gift of William Khourie

This Northwest Airlines Ramp Agent cap is made of tan canvas and black rattan with a gold threaded chinstrap. It's one of the oldest in our collection.

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Delta Flight Museum 

And finally, it's going to be cold this weekend so make sure you bundle up and wear your favorite wool cap! Our favorite knit wooly is seen below. It's part of a set of warm weather gear produced for the Delta Ski Club members circa 1970!

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Gift of Martina Goscha

Whether in the cockpit, commanding the aisle, directing on the ground, or on the slopes, Delta and the Delta family of airlines had and have a strong hat game. A special thanks to all of the donors who rocked the hats and caps before they donated them for us to preserve! 

We hope you celebrate National Hat Day by following us on our Facebook and Instagram pages and showing us your favorite Delta headwear! Check out more of our hat collections online here!

Austin Coleman

Registrar

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