Christina Thompson

Harvard Review

John B. Stetson Hat Company
T.S. Eliot’s Panama Straw Hat

Among the more curious items in Houghton Library’s storied Z-Closet of non-book objects is this hat once owned by the Modernist writer T. S. Eliot. Purchased at the Harvard Cooperative Society, the hat bears Eliot’s gilt-stamped initials – and no doubt some of the poet’s DNA – on its sweatband. As an object it is quaintly emblematic of an earlier age, when men sat around on verandahs in lightweight summer suits, drinking gin and smoking, watching the women come and go…

MS Am 2890, Gift of Theresa G. Eliot, 1965