Archivists at Mississippi State University have discovered a historical treasure in the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Collection at the university’s Mitchell Memorial Library. When combing through boxes of material used by a Grant biographer more than 60 years ago, historians came across a folder containing materials on Frederick Douglass, a former slave who became a leading figure in the abolitionist movement. Included in the folder was a lock of hair that is thought to have belonged to Douglass. A card accompanying the strands of hair reads, “A lock of Frederick Douglass’ hair, cut from his head in 1876 by Sarah Rogers in the home of Quaker John Fussell near Pendleton, Indiana.
Giving a lock of hair as a personal memento was common in those days. University archivists believe the lock of hair to be authentic.