Just a quick post today, before we head off to the Thanksgiving holiday!

Our “turkey” parasol is one of the more fanciful artifacts in our textile collections, though unfortunately we know very little of its history. It has a modified-pagoda-shaped silk cover, a long (just over four feet) wooden shaft, and metal spokes and ferrule. The carved handle is shaped like a standing turkey, complete with colored paint and glass eyes.  The parasol itself is not in good shape, as is often the case with such fragile, and well-used, items; the spokes are too bent and broken, and the (rather fabulous) silk cover too tattered, to open the shade all the way.

The metal spokes, brightly patterned silk, and extreme length of the shaft put this sunshade in the early 20th century. The only clue to its provenance is the name “B. Altman & Co.,” meaning it was purchased at that store, probably in New York City. Other than that, its past is a mystery. During the early years of the Historical Society we were happy to accept almost any artifact or collection, and were occasionally – shall we say – lackadaisical in our pursuit of the written record. No doubt someone knew this parasol’s history at some point.  Every so often I am able to match up the unknown artifacts with the what’s-this paperwork; perhaps one day our little turkey’s history will be identified once again.