The above is the hair of / Washington / presented to Miss Menitt [?] / by James A. Hamilton / June 10 1871 (EX 4795).
“Hair, that most imperishable of all the component parts of our mortal bodies, has always been regarded as a cherished memorial of the absent or lost. Impressed with this idea, it appears to us but natural that of all the various employment devised for the fingers of our fair country-women, the manufacture of ornaments in hair must be one of the most interesting. Why should we confide to others the precious lock or tress we prize, risking its being lost, and the hair of some other person being substituted for it, when, with a little attention, we may ourselves weave it into the ornament we desire?” From Elegant Arts for Ladies (London: Ward and Lock, )
The largest collection of celebrity hair is held by John Reznikoff, the “world’s pre-eminent historical hair collector.” This 2009 video contains a little of the hair in Reznikoff’s collection.