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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Thu., April 17, 2014

From our archives, 100 years ago

A Hillyard civil trial was heavily attended by spectators – many of them, according to a reporter, bald.


Because Mrs. Coco Thomas, a “hair doctor” formerly of Mexico and the Philippines, was suing J.F. Hoffman and his wife for not paying her $99 fee.

The Hoffmans refused to pay because they claimed that she failed to make their hair grow, as she promised. In fact, they said that she merely sat in their home during the so-called treatment, and brought “her own sewing while the hair was supposed to be growing.” A number of Hoffman friends and family members testified to the effect that the Hoffman coiffures were no thicker now than they had been before.

Other witnesses in support of Mrs. Thomas said she had indeed given good results with her hair treatments – and they showed off their pates to prove it. Her attorney argued that Mrs. Thomas “made good” on her agreement to “cover the heads of the defendants with perfectly good and presentable hair.”

The case got nasty just before the trial date when Hoffman filed a charge of insanity against Mrs. Thomas. She was thrown into jail, but a Superior Court judge quickly dismissed the insanity charge.

In the end, the jury in the civil case took a compromise stance. They awarded Mrs. Thomas part of her fee, $40.


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