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Raleigh Haberdasher: 1925

Raleigh Haberdasher: 1925

The display window of Raleigh Haberdasher in Washington, D.C., c. 1925. From the National Photo Company collection. View full size


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I used to be the assistant manager of that store and did most of the window dressing. I was replacing a man who was a legend in the hat business. Mr. Bill Hickman was the finest hat men I've ever met. We worked with many celebrities as well as the Johnsons, Hubert Humphrey, Sinatra, Presidents of various countries. I had managed a store for Lord and Taylor in Virginia and trained for that position in Bethesda. I was managing Raleigh's in 1968 when the riots broke out. Everything was burned and gutted all around us on both sides and across the street. I had pictures of Martin Luther King blown up to poster size with peace medallion hanging from the top and survived without so much as a cracked glass.

Classic Window Display

It is still possible to find well-executed display windows in many places but the artistry required to do this work is in short supply. The inspired display artist is a dying breed.

When did this place close?

Because I have a hat from there, a Knox twenty. Was searching for this store to date my hat, and Shorpy came up (one of my favorite sites!).

Raleigh Haberdasher

I retrieved a RH hanger from this my in-law's house that we were cleaning out and thought I would "Google it" to see what turned up. Great picture!


Today one may view fine window displays, it is true. However, it is doubtful that a classic display of headwear can be found in the display window of any major department or speciality store in the U.S. The golden age of style long ago passed into the murk of low riders, tank tops, and the entitled generation(s). A sensibility for dressing well, no matter what your social milieu, has been lost in this nation.

I remember that building on

I remember that building on F Street, it has been torn down.

Re: Display of hats

I think a walk through the retail district of any major city would tell you that elaborate window displays are still going strong. All the major department stores employ full-time window dressers in their flagship stores.

Display of hats

Not only fine looking hats but the display itself tells a story. Today we show off the item for sale but seem to forget to complement it with all the 'extras' you see in this photo. It suggests work, play, comfort and style. I wonder if it would have the same affect in color or in person.


Some fiiine lookin hats.

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