At a recent lecture, an attendee told me about an ancestral photo that scared him as a child. The woman had a curl that stood up straight on the top of her head. (He’s promised to send me a scan, and as soon as I have it you’ll see it here. Can’t wait!)
His comments made me think about hairstyles in the family. On page 83 of Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900 there is a picture of a woman wearing a hair piece. It’s not unusual for a 19th century woman to add false hair to create a fashionable hairdo, and in this photo I doubt it’s real hair. Women could buy expensive human hairpieces or fake ones made from horsehair or even yak hair.
Her natural hair is very fine and curly, and the loops on her head are an entirely different texture. You can also see long hair trailing down behind her head.
Inspired by the photo that scared a child, I’ve decided it’s time for a contest. Send me photos of the most outrageous hairstyles worn by ancestors. You can send in 20th century photos of yourself, but not of living family members. You can email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll feature as many as I can in this space and readers can vote for their favorite in the comment section.