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Object Name Hat, Top
Alternate Name Top Hat
Date ca. 1920-1940
Description Man's top hat of black silk plush. Cylindrical crown with flat top; crown is slightly flared at top and bottom. Curved brim with bound edges. Black felt hatband. Cream silk lining with white leather headband. Mark printed on lining: "SUPERFINE / MOVEO ET PROFICIO / KNOX / NEW YORK." Initials in applied gold stickers below the mark: "CGK."
(Keywords: Fashion, Accessory, Silk Beaver, Twentieth Century, New York)
Acquisition From Emily L. Kolff
Ownership and History This hat belonged to Cornelius G. Kolff (1860-1950), a prominent real estate developer and businessman who resided at 15 Harbor View Place, Rosebank, Staten Island. Mr. Kolff began his real estate business in 1893, and with his partner, Louis W. Kaufmann, developed a number of notable Island properties, including Woods of Arden, Emerson Hill, Longview at Grymes Hill, Harbor View, Elting Park, and Shore Acres. Mr. Kolff also served for 28 years as the expert real estate appraiser for the City of New York. He retired from his firm in 1943.

In addition to his business activities, Mr. Kolff devoted much time to community organizations. He worked for the establishment of the Staten Island Free Port, touring European ports in 1936 to conduct research. He was President of the Staten Island Historical Society; Secretary and President of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce; Secretary of the Staten Island Sound Waterways Association; and a director of the Inter-Borough Bridge Corporation.

Mr. Kolff was also a prolific author, writing numerous essays on local history, and several short books, including "The Haven of Wooden Shoes" (1938) and "Staten Island Fairies" (1939). In 1910 he established the "Philosophers' Retreat," a log cabin on Emerson Hill, Staten Island, as a place for informal gatherings and meditations.
Earliest Date 1920
Latest Date 1940
Maker Knox Hat Company
Subjects Clothing & dress
Lexicon Sub-category Clothing -- Headwear
Associated People Kolff, Cornelius
Catalog Number C01.5001
Support Acknowledgment Online Collections Database record made possible by The Coby Foundation, 2009.
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