Originally featured in Points West magazine in Fall 2012
Orilla Hollister’s Stetson hat
Orilla Russell Downing Hollister was born in Denver, Colorado, in February 1884. She moved with her family to Wyoming the following year, and in 1897 they relocated to Cody. She married Gail (nee Gaylord) Downing in 1907, and they both joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West for the 1908 season. While Gail continued to ride with Buffalo Bill until 1910, Orilla performed as a cowgirl for only one year. The couple later divorced and Orilla eventually married another Cody resident, Dwight Hollister. Orilla was Park County’s clerk of court from 1922 to 1964 and lived to be 88 years old.
Orilla’s low-crown, beige felt hat was made by the John B. Stetson Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The brim measures four inches wide and the crown is four-and-a-half inches high. The hat has a tie underneath, a style which Orilla seemed to prefer based on photographs of her taken throughout her life. The interior hat band, or sweatband, is marked “John B. Stetson Co., No. 1 Quality.”
Stetson hat. Gift of Orilla Downing Hollister. 1.69.648