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Feathers Were More Valuable Than Gold

feathered hat

Interesting Facts in Easy English

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • the turn of the century: the end of one century and the beginning of a new one
  • social status: a person’s importance in society (often linked to wealth)
  • plume: a long feather
  • the Everglades: a swampy grassland area in southern Florida
  • socialite: a person who is popular in society and often hosts or attends social events
  • destructive: damaging
  • exclusive: only available to certain people


Feathers Were More Valuable Than Gold

At the turn of the 20th century, hats with feathers were very for women. These hats reflected a woman’s social status. The more feathers you had on your hat the better. These hats were even popular for the middle class. In fact, feathered hats were so fashionable that plume hunters killed about 5 million birds per year in Florida’s Everglades. Feathers were more per weight than gold. A socialite from Boston how destructive the fashion was to bird populations and decided to do something about it. She of all the women who had the most feathers in their hats and invited them to tea parties. As she won their trust, she encouraged them to remove their hats and join an exclusive organization for people interested in the of birds.

Comprehension Questions

  1. Why did bird populations in the Everglades suffer around the turn of the 20th century?
  2. Why does this report mention gold?
  3. How did a socialite help save Florida birds from extinction?

Discussion Questions: What other animals are hunted for the sake of fashion? Should this practice be illegal?

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