Victorian Customs Feed

Confederate Hair Relic

Hair Relic
An arrangement of artificial flowers fashioned from the hair of Confederate heroes is affixed to a satin backing in this so-called National relic. Jeannetta E. Conrad of Harrisonburg, Virginia, constructed this piece in the midst of the Civil War, using strands of hair that she obtained through the help of Mrs. Robert E. Lee.

In the Victorian era women frequently made relics out of hair and wire to commemorate the beloved dead. In this case, Conrad created a kind of shrine to the Confederacy and its key figures, most, if not all of whom, were still alive.

The diagram at the left notes the people included in this piece—among them are President Jefferson Davis, at top, Virginia governor John Letcher and his wife, General and Mrs. Robert E. Lee, as well as beloved generals such as J. E. B. Stuart and Turner Ashby, who was killed near Harrisonburg on June 6, 1862.

Original Author: Jeannetta E. Conrad
Created: ca. 1862–1863
Medium: Hair relic
Courtesy of The Museum of the Confederacy, photography by Katherine Wetzel

From the Encyclopedia of Virginia