Studio A
Columbia Recording Studios
New York City, New York
30 September 1961

Sideman at a Carolyn Hester studio session produced by John Hammond.



January 1962

Taken at the 4th Street Apartment, New York
Photograph by Ted Russell.



Bob Dylan discussed his hat during an interview with Cynthia Gooding, 1962, for WBAI-FM radio. 

The exact date of the recording and broadcast are not confirmed, Olof Bjorner lists it as 13 January 1962, whereas the Expecting Rain transcripts have it as 11 March 1962. 

The interview was fully transcribed from tape and can be read in its entirety at Expecting Rain, but the relevant parts are towards the end of the encounter following Dylan's performance of 'Make A Long Time Man Feel Bad'. It also is the first mention of Bob Dylan wearing a Stetson

BD: I'll take off my necklace.

CG: Without taking off your hat.

BD: No.

CG: Well, then the thing is you see that ...

BD: I'm getting good at this.

CG: Yah. After he takes off the necklace or puts it on he's gotta fluff up the hat again every time.

BD: Yeah. I got it cleaned and blocked last week.

CG: What did you wear on your head? (laughing)

BD: Stetson. You seen me wear that Stetson.

CG: Oh yeah, you were wearing somebody's Stetson.

BD: It was mine. I got that for a present.

CG: So why don't you wear it? 'Cause you like this one better?

BD: I like this one better. It's been with me longer.

CG: What happens when you take it off for any length of time? You go to sleep?

BD: Yeah.

CG: I see.

BD: Or else I'm in the bathroom or somethin'. Well actually just when I go to sleep.


CG: When you're rich and famous are you gonna wear the hat too?

BD: Oh, I'm never gonna become rich and famous.

CG: And you're never gonna take off the hat either.

BD: No.


1962 Spring 

Bob Dylan trying on assorted hats
John Cohen's rooftop New York City (3 minutes)

Early Bob Dylan silent footage shot by John Cohen. Two short rolls of silent movie film capture the antics of a young Dylan on Cohen's rooftop in New York City. In one we see Bob trying on assorted hats, and in the other, playing his guitar. Certainly the earliest films of Dylan known to have survived (though one of the reels is missing). One was to be included in another filmmaker's documentary a while back but hasn't surfaced yet as far as I'm aware. However, we do now have John Cohen's book, Young Bob, which reproduces dozens of stills from the reel.

Watch a clip of the movie during the Witmark Demo Trailer




Mid-1961 thru 1962 – The Dutch boy hat (unsnapped)  - also known as the Huck Finn cap, onstage or off was a staple for the early “Bob Dylan” brand. It made the December 1962 trip to England but probably wasn’t used much afterwards. Unworn, it was relegated to mere prop status during a set of “Freewheelin’” publicity photos. We understand that Bob eventually left this historic little cap in the possession of Dave Van Ronk.

From a Denver Hotel interview 12-13 March 1966:

Robert Shelton: Where did you get that hat? Y'know that hat is on view at Arthur's? I mean that type of hat is in a glass case at Arthur's saying "Yes, we have the hat" and that, being a Dutch boy hat, is now being sold at Tripler, one of the fanciest men's stores in town. 

Dylan: They got my hat?

Robert Shelton: It's at Arthur's. He told me that he had it. I talked to Dave and said "Where the hell did you get that hat?" You remember?

Dylan: No, I don't remember. No, no. I got it someplace. I got it, man, to keep my head warm (guffaws). I really, y'know, I, er, stood on highways and hitch-hiked. And it was very cold.


January 1963

(Left to right) Ethan Signer, Martin Carthy, Richard Farina, Bob Dylan, Eric von Schmidt.
Troubadour Club, London, England. 



CBS promo photos
Photo by Don Hunstein



At Club 47
Boston, Massachusetts
Photo by Al Kaplan

He performed with Joan Baez that evening, sporting his unsnapped Huck Finn cap. 


July 1964

Viking Hotel, Rhode Island
Captain's Cap - Dylan hauling on the bowline, navigating poolside at the Viking Motel with able-bodied first mate, Mimi (Baez) Farina

Photo by John Byrne Cooke


July 1964 

Newport Folk Festival, Newport, RI
Dylan styling a Fedora model while Joan Baez wears the Captain's Cap.

Jim Marshall (photographer): "Joan and Bob with the baby of Albert Grossman's business partner, John Court. at the Newport Folk Festival. I remember starting a rumor by telling the television media it was their child."




Bearsville, New York
Photo by Daniel Kramer

1964 August [27?]  - Sporting an old-style motorbiker's cap while riding the breakfast nook area and reading the New York Herald Tribune at Albert Grossman's home. Note the chin-strap at the ready in case there's a blast of Rock-A-Day Johnny's music out of the radio.



Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Daniel Kramer: "The first Dylan concert I photographed was in Philadelphia. Someone had given Bob a top hat and he wore it throughout the trip. I thought it was perfect on him. I like this shot because it's of a very real Bob Dylan but one you don't get to see very often. I gave Bob a copy of this print."




"In January 1964, during a three-week engagement at the Olympia Theatre in Paris, the Beatles first became aware of American singer and songwriter Bob Dylan and, when having acquired a copy of his album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, began playing it continuously. American journalist Al Aronowitz introduced them to Dylan when the Beatles visited New York in February 1964, and Dylan subsequently became a big influence on the group, especially Lennon, who even started wearing a copycat Huckleberry Finn cap."



 Photo edited from Jerry Schatzberg's 1965-1966 picture

'Dylan Hears a Who' is a parody that appeared unheralded on the net on or around 25 February 2007. The edited photograph shows Bob Dylan wearing the Cat In The Hat's trademark red and white striped stovepipe hat. 

Listen here:







Photo by Jerry Schatzberg

Jerry Schatzberg: "I can show you photographs of ways that we put together things that were really interesting with bizarre top hats, costumes and all that.

The one thing that was funny... We’d try to find other outfits and I’d bring stuff down for him to try from my loft above my studio...he’d look at them and try them and he’d say, "Yeah, yeah, oh yeah," but in the end he wouldn’t do it because it wasn’t his idea. He’s his own person. And I always felt he was just shy, distressingly shy."

[On The Tracks interview]




John Wesley Harding album cover 

Photo by John Berg - Woodstock
With Lakhsman Das, Purna Das & Charlie Joy



1967 [?]

Exact dates uncertain
Photos taken at Big Pink, playing with The Band

Davy Crockett style coonskin cap.  

Coonskin caps are made from the skin of a raccoon. Original versions would have included the head as well as the tail. They became a symbol of frontiersmen across North America. In the 1950s they became extremely popular with boys in America and the UK due to the 'Disneyland' TV show featuring 'Davy Crockett', the iconic 'Ballad of Davy Crockett' and the various spin-off shows that followed. 



Outside his Byrdcliffe home, Woodstock, NY
Photo by Elliott Landy
Saturday Evening Post session
Cover picture 19681102

Although looking from a distance like a straw boater, closer inspection shows this to be a Panama-style hat. 




With son Jesse

Wearing a fedora style hat.

Byrdcliffe, Woodstock New York
Photograph by Elliott Landy 


Late 1968

Nashville Skyline [1969] album cover
Photo by Elliott Landy

Elliott Landy: "Then on another afternoon I went over to his place. As we left the house, he grabbed a hat and asked ‘Do you think we could use this?’ I had no idea if it would be good or not, so I told him ‘take it and we’ll see.’ We walked around through the woods behind his house looking for a good spot. It had just been raining, we had boots on, and he was carrying this hat.

He paused for a moment – apparently inspired – and said ‘What about taking one from down there?’ pointing to the ground. As I started kneeling I saw that it was muddy, but I kept going. ‘Do you think that I should wear this?’ he asked, starting to put on his hat, smiling because it was kind of a goof, and he was having fun visualizing himself in this silly-looking traditional hat. ‘I don’t know’ I said as I snapped the shutter. It all happened so fast. If I had any resistance in me, I would have missed the photograph that became the front cover. It’s best to be open to life."





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