Hair wreath, Presque Isle, ca. 1860

Contributed by Presque Isle Historical Society


The Civil War represented a new era in thought as to how we remembered loved ones lost in battle as many of the bodies of soldiers who died in the conflict never made it home. One way common during the Civil War era was to make jewelry or hair flowers as a memento of a loved one. Each piece had a unique story. The hair flowers were formed by “stitching” the hair with fine wire over a rod which forms a series of loops which were then formed into different flower shapes.

Most of the hair wreaths were formed into a horseshoe shaped wreath that was placed on a silk or velvet background inside a frame. When memorial wreaths were made, hair was collected from the deceased when possible and added to the wreath. The top of the wreath was always kept open as if ascending towards heaven. It was said that the newest addition would be placed in the center and then moved to the side to become part of the large wreath when the next person passed away. This wreath consists of several different hair colors and is therefore representative of an entire family.

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About This Item

  • Title: Hair wreath, Presque Isle, ca. 1860
  • Creation Date: circa 1860
  • Subject Date: circa 1860
  • Town: Presque Isle
  • County: Aroostook
  • State: ME
  • Media: Hair, cloth
  • Object Type: Image

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For more information about this item, contact:

Presque Isle Historical Society
PO Box 285, Presque Isle, ME 04769
(207) 762-1151

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