HistoryofScience.com Blog

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Collecting Strands of Hair: Not just a Quaint Victorian Preoccupation

Honestly I was always rather turned-off by the what I used to think was the quaint Victorian pre-occupation with collecting locks of hair of celebrities. It always seemed to me more the kind of thing that a mom would save in her baby album. That was till I read the article in today's The New York Times entitled A Little off the Top for History. It is available at the link above. Seems there are still a lot of people collecting hair. And with the possibility of DNA analysis from hair strands maybe something new can actually be learned about the personalities from their hair. The article mentions the legal issue of collecting the hair of living people, and one has to emphasize that an intact provenance is essential for authentically attributing the hair to the historical personality involved. Otherwise you just have plain old hair.
As fascinating as hair-collecting may be to some, I will stick to rare books, autographs & manuscripts, prints, and the occasional painting, drawing, or medical or scientific instrument.

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posted by Jeremy Norman @ 8:35 AM   15 Comments


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