Human Hair Picture
Mrs. Sarah Wanamaker, Syracuse, NY
This hair picture is made with real human hair taken from President Abraham Lincoln, his first vice president, Hannibal Hamlin, members of his first cabinet, including Secretary of State William Seward (from Auburn, NY), several U.S. senators, as well as his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln. It is one of only two made by Washington, DC barbers, Champney & Smitten, during the American Civil War. One hair picture was sold to generate money for the U.S. Sanitary Commission, and association organized to benefit sick and wounded soldiers. Mrs. Champney, the barber’s wife, got to keep the second hair picture. Mrs. Chamney moved to Syracuse, after the death of her husband, to be closer to her daughter, Mrs. Sarah Wanamaker. Mrs. Champney donated the hair picture to the Onondaga Historical Association at an unknown time, but prior to 1917.
This hair picture is also an example of patience and wonderful intricate hair weaving. In the mid-19th century, hair art was very popular. Human hair was woven into jewelry, other ornaments, and memorial pieces.
To locate the hair once worn by the various federal government officials, use the accompanying key. For instance, President Lincoln’s hair is number 1, located on the eagle’s head; Vice President Hamlin’s hair is located directly behind the President’s hair, and Seward’s hair is located behind the Vice President’s hair.