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Hat Box Used by Ethel L. Payne

Object Details

20th century
plastic, metal, textile, paper
17 11/16 × 17 15/16 × 6 7/8 in. (45 × 45.5 × 17.5 cm)
Other (handle): 5 7/8 × 4 5/16 × 13/16 in. (15 × 11 × 2 cm)
Cite As
Ethel Lois Payne Collection, Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Gift of Avis R. Johnson.
This hat box belonged to journalist Ethel L. Payne (1911-1991), who filed reports from thirty countries in her pioneering career. The blue, circular case has a zippered, hard shell to protect a hat or wig inside. The fabric-lined interior has a pocket and ribbons to secure objects. A label on the pocket identifies the model and make as CarryAll by Munro, an American shoe and luggage company. Outside, brass rings secure a translucent handle. The train case, as it is also known, can stand vertically on four metal knobs. Additional testimony to Payne’s extensive travel include a North American Van Lines sticker and a paper tag for an Eastern Airlines flight on December 22, 1976 bound for Washington, DC, where Payne covered national and international news for the Chicago Defender. Hat boxes were common in the mid-twentieth century, as hats were essential wardrobe elements. Payne, in particular, chose hats to accent her fashionable attire. Hats might have further distinguished the first African American female member of the White House Press Corps from male colleagues, who removed them while indoors. However, Payne commanded presidential recognition at press conferences entirely on her own moxie.
Accession Number
hat box
See more items in
Anacostia Community Museum Collection
Data Source
Anacostia Community Museum
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