Mid 19th Century Hair Work

In the mid 19th century, hospital hair work was a popular drawing room pastime. It was as fashionable as knitting, tadalafil and crocheting. After ladies became knowledgeable about this art, and much practice,  young ladies were able to create hair braiding of beloved friends and family members. The heart shaped braiding in the photo below might be a mourning keepsake of a loved one. Notice the 2 braided hearts. The dark blue ribbon is original to the piece.

The photo below could also be an example of a mourning piece or maybe just a keepsake. Original ribbon is attached, along with a Dresden decoration. Dresden, is a hard paste used in the early 19th century, and was often used in the making of pottery.

School girls often braided pieces of their friend’s hair. They made albums with these tiny braided keepsakes of friends and relatives. This is an example of an early page, probably from a school girl’s album,  done on early lined school paper. I am reminded of when I was a young girl. We had something called a Slam Book. Inside there were pages and pages about classmates and my friends. Everyone wrote about one another. It was a treasured procession of mine, wish I still had it. We also had autograph books. Do you remember those? All your friends would write in it something about you. Maybe this is the the equivalent of those, because there are names written under each braiding.

If you have any interest in any of these items,to see them soon, click on this link Carole’s Country Store , and it will take you to my website.


Spring will be coming soon. Hang in there!


8 Responses to “Mid 19th Century Hair Work”

  1. Jenny Says:

    Hi Carole,

    When Katie’s (my daughter) horse died unexpectedly a couple weeks ago – so sad – she clipped a piece of his mane as a keepsake. I guess this ‘tradition’ applies to dear pets too!


  2. carolemurals Says:

    Jenny, I actually think it is a nice thing to do. It’s a part a loved one or pet that always stay with you. It can be very comforting. I am sorry that your daughter’s horse passed away suddenly, that makes it more difficult. I am a horse lover. I had one when I was a young girl. I still have my horse pins.

  3. tj Says:

    …Such a wonderful and informative post! I love those and have always thought what a lovely way to remember those you love. It would be nice if that came back as an art form in this modern day.

    …I did not know you were a horse lover too! I love and adore horses and one of my life’s dreams is to own one. The other dream is to own a small historical farm to have this horse on. ;o)

    …You must do a post of your horse you had, I would love to hear the story. :o )

    …Have a lovely day!

    …Blessings :o )

  4. carolemurals Says:

    tj, wouldn’t that be a dream come true, to own a horse and a historical farm! You gave me an idea, maybe I will do a post about my horse, but do you think anyone else would be interested. :)
    Carole xo

  5. Barbara Says:


    I love the custom of the hair braid. I have a big hunk of one of my granddaughter’s hair of which I will try to braid a small section. Putting it in a frame with some small sentament like a heart or wings would look great. Thanks for the idea!

    I would be interested in hearing about our horse!

  6. Jenny Says:

    YES! Absolutely, would love to hear about your horse and a peek into your past! Thanks for sharing… really!!! ;)

  7. carolemurals Says:

    Barbara, I hope you do that. What a nice keepsake. Maybe you will share it with us when you are done.

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