President Harry S. Truman’s personally-owned and -worn handsome Stetson hat. Light gray fedora hat, size 7 3/8 with matching band, has a cream-colored silk lining and brown leather sweatband. Imprinted on the sweatband in gilt is, “Made by Stetson especially for Harry S. Truman,” “The Open Road,” and the Stetson label boasting “Clear Beaver Quality.” The Stetson label is also imprinted in gold on the lining. A beige ribbon tied in a bow is affixed underneath where the sweatband and lining meet, with a sizing label also affixed above the bow. A label in the lining bears a reorder number of 566622. In fine condition.
Accompanied by a 1982 letter of provenance, on White House letterhead, from White House doorman Carl Ferguson. Letter reads, in part: “The Stetson hat was given to me by President Harry S. Truman, just before he left office in 1953. I was near the President on numerous occasions in my capacity as White House Doorman. On this day we were alone briefly in the Oval Office. I had been wanting, like a number of people, one of the President’s hats made so famous by his morning walks…After I asked the President for a Stetson hat he said, ‘Ferguson, I think we can work that one out. See me tomorrow.’ When I did he handed it to me with a big smile…This was dressier than the other type he wore.” Also included is a glossy photo of Truman, standing on the White House steps, wearing a similar hat. Stetsons were the preferred hat for President Truman, and he routinely wore one during his daily morning walks from the White House, stopping to speak to other pedestrians along the way. Other Stetsons of Truman’s are kept in various museums and at the Truman Presidential Library Museum in Independence, Missouri. A magnificent piece of American history which has been carefully preserved for over six decades, this serious presidential relic is worthy of a place in an accomplished collection.