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Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Baby Hair, 1804


One of the most unique items in our collection is a tuft of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s baby hair. In many societies around the world – including the United States in the 1800s – it was not uncommon to keep a loved one’s hair clippings as a keepsake. These curly red locks were likely given to Sophia Peabody Hawthorne by Nathaniel’s mother. Later, they were given by Sophia to one of their children – though we are unsure who. It is likely that Julian Hawthorne, his son, eventually ended up with the hair of “papa”.