Is it or is it not THE Disney? That is the question. I received this hatbox earlier this year and the only information I have about it is that it is from around the turn of the century, and it was found in an antique store in Illinois. That's it! I thought, the Disney family name is just not common, there must be some connection. While I knew Walt's immediate family wasn't making hats, perhaps there was a distant Disney relative to Walt... perhaps an uncle or cousin... who was in the millinery business. Could it be?! All I could locate was an ad from the early 40s. Nothing substantial.
I wasn't able to find any information to support my theory, so I posed my question to the fabulous Jim Korkis... who is a peach! Or a Florida orange, whichever he prefers! *wink, wink, Jim!* He hadn't any information on it, so Dave Smith was asked and had this to say (Thanks, Dave!):
"We have an ad for the Disney hats, dating from May 29, 1911. The ad says they were established in 1885. They were on Times Square in New York City, at 1486 Broadway near 43rd Street. This would not be our Disney family, but more likely a branch that came over to the U.S. from England, whereas our branch came from Ireland to Canada."So there you have it. Maybe a distant cousin was the mad hatter in the family! We will probably never know for certain, unless any of you fine readers know a bit more than stated here. Otherwise, it's still a great piece I wanted to share. I would definitely have been proud to wear a Mr. Disney hat... if it came in a Ms. Disney collection, that is! I don't know if I could work a fedora or bowler.