Family History Wreath
Jules Kliot gave me your name, as someone who might steer me to a book about hairwork decorations like the bouquet I bought recently, with a few pieces of antique lace, from a 78-year-old lady who had inherited them, through her mother, from her grandmother, a Mrs. Hamlin, who was born around 1870 and lived in Omaha, Nebraska.  It came in a vitamin box dated Dec 15, 1946, nestled in tissue paper.  
She and I looked at it together, and wondered why there was a tiny label, with the number 15 printed on it, attached to one of the stems deep inside the bouquet.  Well, now I know.  I have just taken both bouquet and tissue paper out of the box.  On examination I found four more of the tiny labels stuck inconspicuously on different stems in the bouquet for a total of five, numbers 1, 2, 6, 13 and 15.  In the bottom of the box I found a piece of cardboard about 4 x 1 1/4" cut from a small printed carton.  On the printed side is written in pencil, "Corresponding No. on the flowers" (Hair6.jpg). On the other side is a column of names with numbers beside them, 1 through 15 (not in order, and the "9" is replaced by an odd symbol), in pencil, in a nice old-fashioned hand (Hair5.jpg).  The first name on the list is "Mrs. Hamlin. 4".

I conclude that this bouquet includes hair from 15 different people, including two men (listed with their first initial) and seven children (listed with only their given names, three of whom are shown as contributing "puffs"; e.g, "Edie. puffs 6").  The hair is in various shades of brown except for one small blossom in white.  I think they are all friends and family.  If Mrs. Hamlin had written this card I doubt if she would have called herself "Mrs Hamlin", and therefore I suppose it was written by another member of the group, perhaps Carrie Fetterly or Fanny Cook -- or perhaps by a professional hair artist engaged for the purpose and supplied with hair from each member of the group.
 
Anything comments, corrections or suggestions you care to offer about this bouquet, or this kind of hairwork in general, will be most appreciated.
 
Sincerely,

 

 

 
 
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