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10 Stories: Great Hair in History! Chronicling America

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In celebration of the release of the 10 millionth page of Chronicling America, our free, online searchable database of historical U.S. newspapers, the reference librarians in our Serials & Government Publications Division have selected some interesting subjects and articles. We’ll be sharing them in a series of Throwback Thursday #TBT blog posts during the next few weeks.

Today we open our historical newspaper archives to review the subject of hair: its styling, care and (in the case of advertising) how to grow it.

Woman with long hair
“Miss J. Carroll, 2307 Irving Avenue, Chicago,” a happy Danderine user, from the (Ardmore, Okla.) Daily Ardmoreite, Oct. 4, 1907.

Fashionable Coiffures for ’98
From the San Francisco Call, Jan. 16, 1898: “Seven fashionable coiffures from which the American woman can take her choice,” illustrated.

Dressing the Hair for Christmas Dinner
Complete with fabulous illustrations and photos, courtesy of the St. Paul Globe, Dec. 28, 1902.

How to Build the Spring Coiffure”
The San Francisco Call of April 6, 1902, devotes an entire page to managing the new “Low London Coiffures.”

Demure Hair Dressing Is on the Way
According to the Chicago Day Book (December 14, 1911), “elaborate head-dressing off-sets simple coiffures.”

Fashions for January
A national capital consumed by fears of Civil War needed a distraction: “…We mention the coiffure Gabrielle d’Estrees, of ponceau velvet, over which was rolled a thick gold cable chain, forming bows, with a bunch of elegant white feathers at the side,” reported “Le Follet” in the Washington Star, January 22, 1861.

Hair of All Colors Except Orange…
Stripes, checks, plaid, pale pink – even polka dots! Chicago Day Book, Jan. 28, 1914.

The Bowman Easter Hair Style Exhibit
Not an April Fool gag but an ad for Bowman’s Hair Shop, from the (Harrisburg Pa.) Star-Independent, April 1, 1915.

Danderine Grew Miss Carroll’s Hair and We Can PROVE IT!” (1907)
On to the hair tonics: a powerful hair-growth cure of the first decade of the last century took a full page ad in the (Ardmore, Okla.) Daily Ardmoreite, Oct. 4, 1907.

Danderine Grew This Hair and We Can PROVE IT!” (1905)
They’re very emphatic about that. And to be fair, this is some pretty serious hair. Washington Evening Star, December 7, 1905.

Ayer’s Hair Vigor
“Do you think nature intended you should have short, stubby and thin hair?” Ayer’s special tonic will help you out. St. Louis Republic, Jan. 21, 1900.

Launched by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in 2007, Chronicling America provides enhanced and permanent access to historically significant newspapers published in the United States between 1836 and 1922. It is part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a joint effort between the two agencies and partners in 40 states and territories. Start exploring the first draft of history today at and help us celebrate on Twitter and Facebook by sharing your findings and using the hashtags #ChronAm #10Million.

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