Roger purchased this hat from James F. Green (aka Mr. G The Magician) who bought it from magician and author Burling Hull in the late 1960s or early 1970s. Hull told Green a curious story of how he acquired it. He was at an S.A.M. banquet in New York with Houdini also in attendance (he did not provide the year). Hull asked Bess Houdini to dance with him, which she did. Hull was a handsome man...too much so for Houdini. The jealous Houdini marched out and retrieved Bess and left the event in a huff. In doing so, he left his top hat behind. Hull chased after them to return the hat, but he failed to catch up to them so he kept the hat for himself.
The dancing with Bess episode was written up by Bev Bergeron in the March 2007 Linking Ring ("A Dance with Bess: The Tricks, Tales, and Trials of Burling Hull"). According to Bergeron, Houdini later apologized when he leaned who Hull was and offered up Bess as a dancing partner at their next S.A.M. gathering. But it appears Hull did not offer up the hat!
Hearing this story I was immediately reminded of the below item from Motion Picture News about, yes, Houdini losing his hat at an S.A.M. banquet in 1922.
This is Boston, not New York, so this could be another S.A.M. event and another hat. But this is all great stuff and another terrific addition to Roger Dreyer's amazing collection.