Hat likely worn by Frederick Douglass in Haiti and illustrated in the lithograph. Douglass' papers, now in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division, indicate that he was concerned about the extremely hot weather in Haiti. Panama hats like ths one were made in Ecuador. It is said that they were introduced to the United States during the construction of the Panama Canal to protect workers against the sun. The hats are highly prized. The finest examples have an even, creamy texture, and are made with a very tight weave. The true Panama hat is made of natural fiber, Carludovica palmate and are called sombrero de paja toquilla or 'hats of the toquilla plant."
Toquilla fiber. H 11, Diameter [crown] 23, [rim] 53.5 cm
1411 W Street SE Washington,District of Columbia 20020
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site