Have you ever wondered why our corner of the world, even
deep in the NH woods, is criss-crossed by miles of old stone
walls? They appeared thanks to a fascinating tale involving
fashion, industrial espionage, a race for cash, and Napoleon
himself. Join HSANH's own Chris Marshall for his intriguing
virtual exploration of the history behind NH's network of
picturesque stone walls!
Monday, March 1, 2021 (changed from February 8, 2021)
"Conservation of Sarah Davenport's Hair
Mary French, Northeast Document Conservation Center
Logon Information for the Zoom Meeting:
892 5760 6832
Or dial in by location
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
In 2019, the Davenport
House Museum in Savannah, Georgia, brought a 19th-century hair
album to the Northeast Document Conservation Center for
assessment, conservation, and digitization.
The Sarah Davenport scrapbook contained an unusual surprise:
locks of human hair, some 200 years old, that Sarah had
collected from her family and tied to the pages of the text
block using silk. This project proved to be an interesting
the Historical Society of Amherst and NEDCC’s Mary French to
learn the fascinating story of the Davenport hair album, and the
suite of techniques experts used to preserve this irreplaceable
snapshot of American history.
Victorian hair albums were often assembled using locks of hair
from living friends and family and more closely relate to the
concept of an album amicorum or friendship album. Friends
exchanged locks of hair as a token of affection or sometimes
remembrance if a friend was moving far away and it was unlikely
that they would ever see each other again. The locks of hair
were styled according to the abilities of the album creator,
ranging from simple bunches tied together with string or ribbon
to elaborate braided and looped creations. Asking one’s friends
for a lock of hair seems almost unimaginable now, but in a time
before the invention of photography, a piece of hair was the
only tangible way to remember someone.
Thanks to NEDCC’s conservation efforts, those most personal
memories live on after more than two centuries!