Lock of George Washington's hair found in library book
Experts at Union College in New York said they found a lock of George Washington’s hair inside a library book that is more than 200 years old. (Source: WTEN/CNN)
SCHENECTADY, NY (WTEN/CNN) – An upstate New York college is celebrating an amazing find: a lock of George Washington’s hair tucked away inside a library book.
India Spartz is the head of collections and archives at Union College. She knows the discovery is the kind of thing people must see to believe.
There are thousands of books in the library, including some that predate the Revolutionary War. The one in question was published in 1793 and sat for years on a shelf.
“Nobody really thought too much about (the book),” she said. “It’s a bit of a needle in a haystack.”
Inside it was a lock of hair from the first president of the United States.
Spartz said she gets people might be skeptical, so they did some digging. No CSI forensics needed, just historians with a knack for finding clues, like the inscription on the inside from Phillip J. Schuyler.
Schuyler’s father was a general who served with Washington. The two families were close.
“They were well connected; they had good social standing,” Spartz said.
Back then, when someone died it was common to give away a strand of hair as a token. Flash forward to 2018, and the whole Union campus is buzzing.