The Mad Hatter has a basis in real history. In the 18th and 19th centuries, mercury was used to treat felt used in the production of hats in England. Workers in hat factories were exposed to toxic levels of the heavy metal and often led to the onset of dementia.
Faces of the Depression- January, 1937 Looking closely at the full size photo, I'm amazed by the large muscular fingers and hands of the boy. His eyes show concern with a serious glare and his mother, with bruised leg, recognizes him with her extended arm. The children of the depression had to grow up faster than any other generation in recent history. Part of the family of a migrant fruit worker from Tennessee, camped near the packinghouse in Winter Haven, Florida." by Arthur Rothstein