connectVideoCollector combing through presidential history, wire for wire
PA man saves the collection of the former president’s hair is rolled.
PHILADELPHIA – Robert Peck was the move of offices from Drexel University in 1976 when he stumbled upon a bizarre collection.
His colleagues urged him to throw it away, but he was also intrigued to do.
The Pennsylvania investigator, began combing through the history, thread for thread, until it the unravelling of a past that went back centuries. He soon realized the strands of hair, hundreds of years old, belonged to the former presidents, famous scientists and signers of the Declaration of Independence. They included strands of 13 AMERICAN presidents from George Washington to Millard Fillmore, 19th-century author James Fenimore Cooper, and even the famous siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker Bunker, Thai brothers, who coined the term “Siamese twins” in the 1800s.
“Every lock and trees carefully mounted and notation in a 12-volume set of books, so neat and fascinating to me, but my colleagues thought otherwise,” said Peck, a historian at the Academy of natural Sciences of Drexel University, “so I held on to the collection.”
Lee Arnold, Director of the Historical society of Pennsylvania, the George Washington’s hair, together with letters.
Peck’s work mostly focused on insects and dinosaurs, so that his colleagues didn’t see the value in volume of the hair.
But he insisted on to get to the root of the collection.
By carefully digging, he realized that he had discovered the work of Peter A. Browne, a Philadelphia lawyer who spent his time collecting hair samples of the luminaires in the years 1840 and 1850. Packaged with ribbons and string, Browne neatly made, each slot decorative paper, with captions, and letters.
“There were signatories of the Declaration of Independence, writers, artists, scientists, explorers – all kinds of people whose lives I had studied,” Peck said.
Peck said it took three decades to convince his colleagues and other historians of the significance of the findings.
During the lock-collection was unusual, it was actually a fairly common centuries ago.
Long before the cameras made it possible to capture a snapshot in history, and collectors of centuries ago the cut hair to keep as memories.
“Her collection was quite the fad during the Victorian Era, they would be the hair of deceased loved ones, and it is possible to make rings or other forms of jewelry,” Arnold said.
But this is the first time that historians have a collection of her, that is as large and as prominent people in the history.
The strands are now on display from now to the President’s Day weekend at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.
“This collection is of inestimable value,” said Arnold Lee, the director of the Historical society of Pennsylvania. “You could not even to buy or to recreate something like this.”