College: Lock of Washington’s hair found in old book in archives
Tucked in the pages of a grimy, leather-bound almanac in the archives at New York’s Union College was a tiny envelope with the hand-scrawled words “Washington’s hair.”
A librarian who had been cataloging old books gingerly opened the yellowed envelope to find a lock of silvery hair tied with a thread.
“It was one of those mind-blowing moments that happen every once in a while in a librarian’s life,” said John Myers, a catalog and metadata librarian at the college. “I thought, that doesn’t mean George Washington, does it?”
It apparently does.
While college officials can’t say for sure it’s the real deal, the historical evidence is there. The hair was discovered in a pocket-size almanac for the year 1793 that belonged to Philip J. Schuyler, son of Gen. Philip Schuyler, who served under Washington during the Revolutionary War and founded Union College in 1795.
Susan Holloway Scott, an independent scholar and author, said locks of hair were frequently given as gifts during Washington’s day, and it’s likely Martha Washington gave the snip of her husband’s hair to Eliza Schuyler, daughter of the general and wife of Alexander Hamilton.