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Nathaniel Hawthorne - Lock of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Hair, 1915

Nathaniel Hawthorne (Salem, Massachusetts, 1804 - 1864, Plymouth, New Hampshire)

Lock of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Hair in a Box with a Note, 1915

Hair; brass box with crystal top; ink on paper , 5.5 x 2 cm (2 3/16 x 13/16 in.)


Author and social reformer Annie Adams Fields – also the widow of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s publisher, James T. Fields – presented her friend Isabella Stewart Gardner with this lock of hair in 1915. Retaining the hair of the deceased was a common memorial practice; often, they were enshrined in jewelry to adorn the clothes of the living. Isabella Stewart Gardner treasured this modern reliquary for its connection to Hawthorne, a vital figure in 19th century American literature.