Manufactured by
Cox Sons & Vining, Inc., American, founded 1837
Owned by
Hurston, Zora Neale, American, 1891 - 1960
Worn by
Cohen, Lucy Kramer, American, 1907 - 2007
Subject of
Barnard College, American, founded 1889
fiber, ink on silk (fiber) and cardboard
H x W x D (Cap): 2 15/16 × 9 1/2 × 9 1/2 in. (7.5 × 24.1 × 24.1 cm)
This commencement cap originally belonged to writer and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston. Hurston was a member of Barnard College's graduating class of 1928. Her degree was conferred on February 29, 1928; however, Hurston did not participate in the commencement ceremony. Having completed her coursework and obtained funding, she sold the cap and gown before leaving New York to conduct anthropological research in Florida. Her fellow anthropology classmate Lucy Kramer purchased the regalia from Hurston and wore the gown during commencement. Kramer had to alter the hem so that the gown could fit her four foot, ten inch frame, but Hurston's monogram remains intact in the yoke of the gown.
A commencement cap purchased by Zora Neale Hurston, for the 1928 Barnard College commencement ceremony. The cap is a black square academic cap. The cap has a horizontal square board affixed to a black skull-cap, with a black tassel attached to the center. The tassle is attached with a fabric covered button and made from thinly plied cords. The interior is lined with black silk. Stamped at the center of the silk lining is gold text that reads "Cox Sons & Vining / Academic Robe Makers / 131 East 23rd Street / New York."
Place made
New York City, New York, United States, North and Central America
Place used
New York City, New York, United States, North and Central America
Harlem Renaissance (New Negro Movement)
caps (headgear)
Clothing and dress
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Zora Yaa Adams-Williams and The Family of Lucy Kramer Cohen (Barnard College, 1928)
Object number
Restrictions & Rights
No Known Copyright Restrictions

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