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Longshoreman's cap
Catalog #: 2001.0214.02, Accession #: 2001.0214
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
This hat was worn by its donor, Herb Mills, a member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 10, in San Francisco. Mills wore this hat for special union-related events, such as meetings and parades.
Physical Description
Artifact. This white cotton cap has a visor that snaps to the upper part of the cap. Eight triangular sections of cloth form a circle and meet in a white button at the top. The inside label reads: "Dorfman Pacific / S / Stockton, California / Made in Korea."
Date Made:
about 1960
Dates Used:
about 1970 - 2001
San Francisco waterfront
Gift of Herb Mills
Sometimes called the "West Coast Stetson," this type of white cap was worn by West Coast mariners, particularly longshoremen and sailors. Along with black "Frisco" jeans and a "hickory" (blue and white striped) shirt, the soft white cap was once a signature part of "the usual rig" that men wore in part to express their occupational identity. The white cap also served a safety function as they could be spotted even in the dark holds of ships by men on deck who were lifting and lowering heavy slingloads. By the early 1970s longshoremen were required to wear hardhats for safety when working aboard vessels and on the docks. They still wear the "West Coast Stetson," however, at special union meetings and events.

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