The Lost Black Feather Boas of Brooklyn

Image from The New York Sunday World (1896) via Library of Congress


    A black feather boa was a must-have women’s accessory in the late 19th century and, if Brooklyn Daily Eagle lost and found classified ads are anything to go by, flocks of the fluffy plumes ornamented the borough, lost by their wearers.

    brooklyn history lost feather boa

    1899 ad from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle

    While a festive holiday accessory, black boas were popular year round. According to the Eagle in 1895: “If you wish to be in style you must have a feather boa; indeed, several feather boas.”

    brooklyn history lost feather boa

    1897 ad from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle

    Perusing late 19th century and early 20th century issues of the paper turns up scores of desperate fashionistas searching for boas lost on streetcars and railroad cars and in neighborhoods from Crown Heights to Brooklyn Heights. Many ads offered rewards from “reasonable” to “liberal” and tried to narrow down where the feathery item was lost.

    brooklyn history lost feather boa

    Modelling an ostrich feather boa in 1905. Image via Brooklyn Daily Eagle

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