Look what we found!

Know Your Hats: A Quick History of Men’s Hats 1790 to Present

The Detroit Historical Society Collection is home to approximately 1,800 hats: Men’s, women’s, children’s, winter, summer, military, formal, casual, etc. These function as a critical part of the larger Costume and Textile collection which, at 20,000 artifacts strong, is the single largest grouping of objects in our holdings. A good chunk of the 1,800 hats were sold from Detroit department stores or were created by local designers, but the majority of them were collected to serve as representatives of certain periods and styles. 

Pandemic: Detroit’s Deadly History

The latest virulent health threat affecting our world seems new to most of us. The Ebola, SARS and MERS outbreaks were recent, but distant. Flu scares never cut this deep. So, in our collective memory, the mass closure of all public spaces is unique. “Novel” you might say. Among Detroit’s many, many stories there are tragic tales of devastating epidemics, mass self-isolation, unintended misinformation, poor preparedness and fantastic fatality rates.

Lions, Bears, the Red Grange Trophy, and a Thanksgiving Football Mystery

This time of year the Detroit-centric internet is full of Detroit Lions Thanksgiving Game facts.

Here are some more:

Elizabeth O'Sullivan and the 1935 Detroit Tigers

"Take me Out to the Ball Game" Lyrics by Jack Norworth, 1908

Even people who can sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" in their sleep might not know that the song is about Katie Casey, a girl who was "baseball mad" and would rather go to a game with her beau than out on the town Saturday night.

Elizabeth O' Sullivan was Detroit's answer to Katie Casey.

Red Star: Help the Horse to Save the Soldier

World War I was an unprecedented conflict. At the intersection of dramatic new weapons of war, a shrinking globe, automobiles, aviation, and more hallmarks of innovation, the world was changing – for both soldier and civilian. Before the emergence of television or even commercial radio, governments needed a widespread and effective method of delivering wartime information to their population. This led to many countries using the already popular advertising medium of posters to broadcast messages during the war.

Downtown’s Forgotten Resort

In addition to the original structure, and the Wayne Gardens, this c. 1915 postcard shows a planned six-story addition to the complex, which was to follow the construction of the two-story mineral baths.

Bill Kennedy at the Movies

Heavyweight boxing champion, Joe Louis, with Kennedy in 1961.


Top o’ the World, Ma!

Imagine that you are fourteen years old in 1911, and your dad is into the latest transportation fad—not automobiles, but aeroplanes! He and nine of his buddies are so smitten with the new technology that they contract with the Wright Brothers to have their newest biplane and best pilot come to Detroit for three days of “test driving.”

100 Years Young

I’ll Be There For You, When You Can’t Find the Door?

Nestled within the archives of the Detroit Historical Society are a pair of surprising pop culture artifacts--copies of the draft lyrics for both the theme song of the 90s T.V.