Monday, October 20, 2014

Hair Raising! Mourning Jewelry Resources at the Adrian G. Marcuse Library

In anticipation for Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire opening at the Anna Wintour Costume Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this week, I wanted to devote this blog entry to my favorite kind of mourning accessory, hair jewelry.   Hair jewelry interests me so much because I find the pieces to be fascinating, touching and frankly, very eerie!    

Picture of two hair brooches in a glass jewelry tray, I took at the Brimfield Antique Show in Massachusetts this May.
Wearing symbolic jewelry to mark events of grief and loss date back to Middle Ages but particularly in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, hair would be taken from the corpse to be incorporated into pieces of jewelry (Miller, 2008).  In the middle of the eighteenth century, jewelers would take the hair and weave, braid or mount it behind framed pieces of glass to be worn as a brooch, locket, bracelet or ring.  By the ninetieth century, hair was not only mounted but was weaved into three dimensional objects that could be used as a watch band, chain, charm or earrings.  Not only did the hair serve as memento of a loved one, hair was also a good medium for making jewelry because it could be used and manipulated in a decorative way (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006).   Locks of hair are very personal and carry significant meaning.  The person may have passed but you still have a piece of them in their hair.  Miller (2008) states “Hair is dead matter and as such persists beyond the life-span of the human body, allowing a range of meanings, both public and private, to be interwoven into these intricate objects … it is the marginal vestiges of the human body possessing their own material endurance (teeth, hair and bones) which come to be employed in the production of personal and holy relics (para 7 & 8).”

Mourning jewelry was at its most popular in England after the death of Prince Albert in December 1861. Queen Victoria went into deep mourning and the people of England imitated this for their own bereavements.  In the United States the use of mourning jewelry increased with the outbreak of the Civil War which coincided with the black mourning jewelry being used in England. During the Civil War as the soldiers left home to fight, they would leave a lock of hair with their families which upon death the hair would be made into jewelry (Harran, 1997).

Hair jewelry may seem really creepy and morbid but our reactions only show how emotionally significant these pieces are.   Looking at the pieces in the context of their time, mourning jewelry mirrors the lives and items of the people who wore it.  It brought comfort having a token to remember a loved one but also served as a reminder to the living of the inevitability of death (Harran, 1997). 

Beautiful Examples of Hair Jewelry at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Brooch ca. 1850 (on display)
Brooch 1868 (on display)

Books on Mourning Jewelry at the Adrian G. Marcuse Library

Brett, Mary.  Fashionable mourning jewelry, clothing & customs. Call number: 739.27BRE
Peter, Mary.  Collecting Victorian jewellery.  Call number: 739 PET
Taylor, Lou.  Mourning dress: a costume and social history. Call number: 393.9TAY
Goldthorpe, Caroline. From Queen to Empress: Victorian dress 1837-1877: an exhibition at the Costume Institute, December 15, 1988-April 16, 1989.  Call number: 390 GOL
Sherrow, Victoria. Encyclopedia of hair : a cultural history.  391.5 SHE (Reference Stacks)


Harran, J., & Harran, S. (December, 1997).  Antique Week. Retrieved from
Maker unknown: Brooch [American] (2000.557). (October, 2006).   In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved from 
Miller, J. (2008). Hair without a Head: Disembodiment and the Uncanny. In Hair: Styling, Culture and Fashion. Retrieved from 

Just for fun – check out Leila’s Hair Museum – a unique museum dedicated to hair work:

Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire will run from October 21, 2014 – February 1, 2015.

Posted on October 20, 2014 I Blog post by Lauren Gavin, M.L.S. (Technical Services/Reference Librarian) 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

2014 Fashion: Now and Then: From Antiquity to Visionary Conference is Around the Corner!

This year's Fashion: Now & Then: From Antiquity to Visionary Conference will be held next weekend, Thursday, October 23 - Saturday, October 25. The conference will feature speakers from around the world discussing topics such as corporate social responsibility, wearable technology, fashion and style in literature, styling, fashion forecasting, and much more.

Click here to view the whole schedule.

Click here to register for the conference.

Join the Conversation: #LIMFNT

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Adrian G. Marcuse Library Closed Monday, October 13th

LIM College and the Adrian G. Marcuse Library will be closed Monday, October 13th for Columbus Day. The Library and College will re-open Tuesday, October 14th at 8am. We look forward to assisting you during midterms week.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Food for the Sole

New York City is known for being one of the most fashionable cities in the world, especially in the footwear game; we are on point. Literally though, from stilettos to platforms, the heels women are sporting truly up our city’s game. The Brooklyn Museum is currently showing an exhibit Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe showcasing the history and future of high heels in the fashion industry.

Before you head on over to Brooklyn, brush up on your shoe knowledge with some of our favorite books available in the Adrian G. Marcuse Library.

391.413 EPA

Shoes: The Complete Sourcebook gives you a full overview of the history of shoes and how they became to be the staple of style we see them as today. Walk away from this book knowing more about shoes than you ever thought possible…(and the pictures are to die for).

391.4 BER

Women from the Ankle Down shines light on how the meaning of shoes changed in the eyes of women throughout the twentieth century and how they have come to define us today.

Stop by the library and pick up a copy so you can be a more informed museum goer!

Posted on October 6, 2014 I Blog post by Ali Petherbridge (student worker of the LIM College Library)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Adrian G. Marcuse Library Offering Saturday Hours during Midterms

The Adrian G. Marcuse Library is pleased to be offering Saturday hours during midterms. The Saturday hours will begin this Saturday, October 4th. They will also be offered Saturday, October 11th and Saturday, October 18th. The Library will be open 10am - 4pm during these Saturdays.

The Library will also continue to offer our Ask-a-Librarian Online & Interactive Reference Service on Saturdays from 11:30am - 4pm. *Please use your LIM College username to enter the chat area. 

For more information check out the Library Hours & Info page on our website.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dedicated Display: 2014 Fashion: Now & Then: From Antiquity to Visionary Conference

This year’s Fashion: Now & Then: From Antiquity to Visionary Conference is right around the corner (October 23-25, 2014). The Adrian G. Marcuse Library has organized a display dedicated to this year’s theme, From Antiquity to Visionary. The conference this year will feature speakers from around the world including Brazil, Canada, Germany, and the United States. Topics will range from Corporate Social Responsibility to Fashion in Literature to Wearable Technology. Stop by the Library today to read about these topics and more!

709.05 SEY

The Fabric of Cultures: Fashion, Identity, and Globalization Edited by Eugenia Paulicelli and Hazel Clark
391 PAU

331.88 MIL

658.8 MAI

677 OMA

New Retail by Raul A. Barreneche
725.21 BAR

We will also be hosting a book signing for the newest edition (6th) of Who’s Who in Fashion by Holly Price Alford on Thursday evening.

For more information on the conference please visit the Fashion: Now & Then Blog.

Click here to register for the conference.

There are scholarships available to off-set the conference registration fee. Please contact David Benjamin, LIM College Archivist, at

Join the Conversation: #LIMFNT

Posted on September 30, 2014 I Blog post by Nicole LaMoreaux, M.L.S. (Reference and Instruction Librarian)