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The Boss of the Plains

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In the mid 1860s, John B. Stetson introduced a new hat to the American West, and it caught on like wild fire. But according to author Jonnie Hughes, the history of how and why the cowboy hat conquered the Plains is a lot more complicated than that -- and it says a lot about where ideas come from, and how they evolve.

Read More:

Jonnie Hughes, The Origin of Teepees

Debbie Henderson, Hat Talk


Jonnie Hughes

Comments [5]

Corliss R. Griffith from 9631 Las Tunas Dr Suite B2 , Temple City , CA 91780, Temple

Love these ideas! Keep sharing more blogs with more useful information. Thank you for all of your amazing ideas and wisdom! Giftformenwomen

Oct. 09 2017 02:25 PM
Jonathan from Washington, DC

Is there a fourth alternative?

Might Hollywood have created the hat? Looking at old photos, there seem to be an assortment of hats that represented the individuality and personality of someone? The more famous/infamous cowboys wore their hats in photos, and the hat not only reflected the person under it, but became as recognizable as the person.

Hollywood fashioned their hats in a way that was "visual short hand" for cowboy. Side holster, horse, and "cowboy" hat. And every had was simply a riff on that original hat, unless (as in the case of El Dorado w/ John Wayne) James Caan's hat is woven into the storyline.

Feb. 07 2016 01:07 PM
S from PV, AZ

Great segment!! Loved the info, the humor and especially the guest. Love the show!

Feb. 05 2016 09:55 PM
DNA from Minneapolis, Minnesota

Great story. Both nature and nurture seem to be the answer to how ideas and other things come about.

Nov. 02 2013 04:06 PM

I haven't listened to this part of this episode yet, but from the blurb it sounds a lot like the Contagious Ideas section of Season 10, episode 4 "Patient Zero." What gives? Is this an expansion on that idea, or is Radiolab beginning to repeat sections?

Oct. 31 2013 06:11 PM

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