On View
Sports Gallery
Sports: Leveling the Playing Field
Created by
Manufactured by
Belding Brothers and Company, American, 1860 - 1932
Used by
Ku Klux Klan, 2nd, American, 1915 - 1944
silk and cotton satin with mother of pearl buttons and metal snaps
H x W (robe flat): 50 3/4 × 34 1/4 in. (128.9 × 87 cm)
L x W (hood): 76 × 7 7/16 in. (193 × 18.9 cm)
H x W (proper left patch): 5 5/8 × 5 1/4 in. (14.3 × 13.3 cm)
H x W (proper right patch): 5 1/4 × 5 5/8 in. (13.3 × 14.3 cm)
A Ku Klux Klan (a) robe of undetermined rank associated with 2012.134.5.2 (cape) and 2012.134.5.3 (hood). The calf-length, collarless robe is made from ivory colored, half silk satin; fabric with a silk warp and a cotton weft. It has full-length sleeves that are slightly flared near the cuff. The robe closes with five (5) mother-of-pearl buttons and a metal snap at the top of the button band down the center front. There is a slit in each side at the waist for access under the garment. Single belt loops are sewn to the top of each side side-slit opening. The right and left shoulder seams, just above the sleeve seams there are the male sides of metal snaps for securing the associated cape (.2). Along the bottom hem at the proper left, front panel, there is a number [2] embroidered in red silk thread. There is a single vent at the center, back reaching 15 ¼ inches from the hem. The button band and hem are reinforced with muslin lining, but the rest of the robe is not lined. The robe is machine-sewn, except for a hand-sewn alteration where the back neck has been taken in on either side of the center back seam. The selvage at the center, back seam is imprinted with the maker's mark: [? Belding's ?].
Coordinating (b) red sash. The sash is a cord made of red rayon-covered wool with a fringed tassel at each end. The sash has faded to a dark pink hue.
On the proper left and proper right breasts are two identical, red, machine-manufactured patches (c-d) made with red, black, and ivory silk thread. The patches are attached with metal snaps, four (4) snaps on the proper right and five (5) snaps on the proper left, making them removable. The design on both patches is called the "Mystic Insignia of a Klansman" (MIOAK). The black lines on the patches are four K’s arranged to look like a cross. The crosses are in a vertical position and at the center of each cross is a symbol called the “blood drop.” On the proper left patch, the “blood drop” is oriented horizontally. The MIOAK patch on the proper right is oriented with the “blood drop” vertically. Both alignments on the robe match up with the irregularly spaced snaps on the back of the patches, meaning the patches cannot be rotated. The patches are reinforced with cotton along the back edging.
Objects depicting symbols of hate or related to organized hate groups may be offensive and disturbing, but the NMAAHC aims to include them in the Collection to present and preserve the historical context in which they were created and used. Objects of this type provide an important historical record from which to study and evaluate history and culture.
Place used
New York, United States, North and Central America
Associations and institutions
Clothing and dress
Fraternal organizations
United States History
White supremacy movements
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Danny Drain, Walterboro, SC
Object number
Restrictions & Rights
No Known Copyright Restrictions
Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.

Cataloging is an ongoing process and we may update this record as we conduct additional research and review. If you have more information about this object, please contact us at NMAAHCDigiTeam@si.edu

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