A Curious Art: Hair Work in 19th Century America
A selection of hair jewelry from the Historic Huguenot Street Permanent Collection
Exhibition by the Curatorial Department
Curated by Rachel Hudson
October 8 – November 17, 2014
Now on display in the DuBois Fort Visitors Center, A Curious Art: Hair Working in 19th-Century America presents a selection of hair jewelry and hair decorations from the Historic Huguenot Street Permanent Collection. The display brings together brooches, earrings, hairpins, bracelets, and watch fobs, each intricately woven by hand from human hair, representing this popular parlor activity practiced during the 1800s. Several of the jewelry pieces are purported to have been worn by Charlotte Hasbrouck, a Huguenot descendent, around 1850. A hair album by another descendent, Naomi C. Freer, features a collection of braided and woven tresses tied with ribbon. Such albums served as mementos to remember family members both living and dead. The art of hair working at its most elaborate is revealed by a “hair portrait” on view comprising locks of hair twisted, woven, and shaped to create a sculptural representation of a floral bouquet.