Audubon Society Boycotts Hats Made With Endangered Birds

1912 CEUnited States

"By the late 1890s, women conservationists around the country were rallying to protect America's birds. Like a confusing fall warbler, the national debate darted back and forth — lighting on the women of nature and the nature of women. In Boston, socialites Harriet Lawrence Hemenway and Minna B. Hall staged tea parties to inform their rich friends that birds were disappearing at an alarming clip, William Souder writes in the March 2013 Smithsonian Magazine. He quoted Hall: "We sent out circulars," Hall later recalled, "asking the women to join a society for the protection of birds, especially the egret. Some women joined and some who preferred to wear feathers would not join." Souder goes on: "Buoyed by their success—some 900 women joined this upper-crust boycott—Hemenway and Hall that same year organized the Massachusetts Audubon Society. Audubon societies formed in more than a dozen states; their federation would eventually be called the National Audubon Society."

Linton Weeks, "Hats Off To Women Who Saved The Birds," NPR, July 15, 2015.

Image: Barribal, William H., Artist. Blue-bird lady though you be, with your hat perched careless-wise / W. Barribal. , 1914. New York: Published by Puck Publishing Corporation, 295-309 Lafayette Street, May 2. Photograph.