Mourning Jewelry Exhibit at Massachusetts Historical Society

When I was a child, my grandparents displayed several family artifacts in the den. An intricately woven watch chain made of human hair was both fascinating and a bit frightening to me. When my 2nd great grandfather Harry was in jail for polygamy, his wife Ruth sent  him some of her hair and he made the watch chain.

Hair ornaments and jewelry were quite common in the 1800s, especially as mourning jewelry. Learn more about how ideas about death and mourning changed through the centuries and view some incredible mourning jewelry. The Massachusetts Historical Society in downtown Boston has an exhibit on the history of mourning jewelry covering the 1600s to the 1800s. This exhibit is open to the public and runs through January 31st. See here for more information.

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Welcome to Bridging the Past. We help genealogists connect to their colonial New England ancestors by sharing with them information about the lives of their ancestors. What did they eat? What did they wear? What was a typical day like? Did my ancestor fight in a war? What was life like for that ancestor, and for the loved ones he left at home? Why did they move? Was it part of a larger movement? By answering these questions, and many more, you can bring your ancestors to life and feel closer to them. We design lectures to answer these questions and give genealogists the tools and resources to personally connect with their ancestors by fleshing out the lives of their ancestors so they are more than names, dates and places on a piece of paper.
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One Response to Mourning Jewelry Exhibit at Massachusetts Historical Society

  1. Melissa says:

    There is an entire museum in Independence, MO devoted to hairwork. They have some mourning jewelry displayed, as well as my displays of flowers and other itms made from hair. I visited it several years ago. It is quite amazing what they were able to do with hair.

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