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Hair as Relic
As with Middle Age and Renaissance relics, the preservation of hair for posterity was perceived by early 19th-century Americans as a way to transcend death. Family members frequently saved hair and passed these precious momentos to descendants as symbols of kinship.
Amassing collections of hair also became a scientific pursuit that was believed to safeguard precious evidence from legendary personages or events. Collectors assembled albums or compendia of hair samples, particularly from historical figures. The New-York Historical Society hold hair samples from many national figures, including Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Webster, and Henry Clay.
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