George Washington’s Hair Found In College Library Book
Photo: Tetra Images (Getty)
A lock of Washington’s hair was found in an old leather almanac, which was stored on the backroom shelf of the library at Union College in New York. The lock of hair was actually inside of an envelope that was labeled ‘Washington’s hair.”
— Times Union (@timesunion) February 13, 2018
John Myers, the school’s catalogue librarian, discovered the hair inside the book titled “Gaines Universal Register or American and British Kalendar for the year 1793.”
The hair, which is “very curious yellow-gray hair” is too delicate to be tested for DNA, but a lot of Meters’ colleagues agree that it has to be hair from the first president of the United States. That said, it’s probably not worth a lot.
“It’s not hugely valuable, maybe $2,000 to $3,000 for the strands you have, but it’s undoubtedly George Washington’s,” professional hair collector John Reznikoff told the school.
The theory of how the college came into possession of the almanac containing “Washington’s hair,” closely resembles a game of telephone. Back in the 1700s, it wasn’t uncommon for friends and relatives to give each other a locket of hair as a symbol of their relationship. It’s supposed that Washington gave the locket to his friend and treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton. The book is believed to have belonged to Philip Schuyler, one of the college’s founders, whose grandson was Hamilton’s son.
Currently, Union college wants to properly preserve and display the hair. So while it will probably never be 100% confirmed that it’s Washington’s, it is still quite the find. It’s also a better find than finding a strand of hair from the current president’s head — that just sounds like a nightmare.