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# Monday, November 26, 2007
Museum Displays Hair Mementos
Posted by Diane

Happy Thanksgiving! Over the holiday I got a whole bunch of hair cut off and mailed it to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, which makes wigs for women undergoing chemotherapy.

If I were around a couple of centuries or so ago, I would’ve used the hair to create mementos for loved ones. In this once-popular practice, women wove locks into elaborate wreaths and jewelry, sometimes with beads, embroidery floss and photographs.

You can see more than 400 hair wreaths and 2,000 pieces of hairwork jewelry (rings, bracelets, watch chains, brooches, etc.) at a museum in two rooms of an Independence, Mo., cosmetology school. Read more about it in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Photo Detective blogger Maureen A. Taylor says hair was a common remembrance of friends and deceased relatives. In the August 2002 Family Tree Magazine, she wrote about the 19th-cetury hair clipping-and-autograph album belonging to Helen Marion Adams of Fairhaven, Vt. “Very simply, hair does not decompose; thus the friendship lasts beyond the grave,” Taylor says.

People can get creeped out by the thought of hair locks separated from their owner. The hair museum’s owner says some visitors can’t complete their tours.

I’m not sentimental about my own trimmed ponytails, but keeping hair for a memento doesn’t seem odd to me. As a baby, my dad had beautiful curls my grandma couldn’t bear to cut. When my grandfather finally prodded her into it, she saved every last curl in a shoebox we still have.


Museums | Social History
Monday, November 26, 2007 11:20:30 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
Monday, November 26, 2007 12:51:17 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Funny you should bring this up. On Thanksgiving I was able to photograph a piece of jewelry made of my grandmother's hair. It was a watch fob she had made for my grandfather who always wore a pocket watch. It's amazing how intricately human hair can be weaved! My brother is the owner of the watch fob now but I can tell you it meant a great deal to me just to be able to handle it and photograph it. It was like touching my grandmother again. (She died back in 1970.)
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