Over the weekend there was news that someone had bought a lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair at auction for $81,000.

The two-inch long clipping came from 1865; it was kept by relatives of Mary Todd Lincoln for more than a century.

And while this hair was kept together with a historic telegram from the time, it’s from a time when many people not only held onto pieces of each other’s hair, they would often turn that hair into art.


Humans have been collecting and saving bits of each other’s hair for centuries; after all, hair is one of the few parts of us that can be preserved for centuries without a lot of expense or complicated preparations.

In the Victorian Era in the 19th century, when mourning became an aesthetic in popular culture, hair art became extremely popular.

A woman might put a lock of her hair into a piece of jewelry for her husband to wear, while some men who went off to the Civil War left hair for their wives or fiancees to remember them by.

A family might put hair into a scrapbook or a family tree.

And some hair artists would take large clippings and weave them into extraordinary patterns and arrangements, sometimes with photos, paintings or poetry.

A few people even tried to collect the hair of the presidents; a collection of hair from the first 14 of them is in the collection of the Smithsonian.

And there is a museum of hair art: Leila’s Hair Museum of Independence, Missouri is an art gallery like no other.

It features room after room of antique hair settings, hair brooches and hair rings.

And while the hair art era faded out in the 20th century, the museum has a wing with hair from more modern celebrities like Marilyn Monroe.


Here’s the story of a husband who had definitely found a way for his wife to remember him, though not with hair.

The Shaws of Warwickshire, England, have been doing what a lot of homeowners have done this year, trying to spruce up their garden.

But husband Adrian may have gone in a different direction than wife Deborah had in mind.

He paid £1600 to have a statue installed in the garden: a 12 foot tall T. rex.

It’s a very lively garden now, at least.

The Curious Victorian Tradition of Making Art from Human Hair (Artsy)

Lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair sells for more than $81,000 (ABC News)

What a disat-saur! Husband shocks wife who suggested he liven up their garden by installing a 12-ft replica T-REX on the patio (Daily Mail)

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Image by Daderot via Wikicommons/Creative Commons