Following the end of his presidency and prior to his departure from Philadelphia, George and Martha Washington paid a visit to the Secretary of the Treasury, Oliver Wolcott and his wife, Elizabeth. Washington had appointed Wolcott in 1795, and the two men shared many professional and personal ties. The intimacy of their relationship is exemplified by this locket containing a lock of Washington's hair, said to have been cut by Martha during their visit and presented to Elizabeth as a "memorial to the General." It was likely set soon after to be worn as a testament of their mutual affection.


Lock of hair set in oval gold, faced, pendant mount. An oval of ivory serves as the backdrop for a lock of red, blond, and white hair bound by a length of silver-wrapped thread. The hair is housed in a two-part mount with a plain back and a thin bezel at front to receive the glass cover. The top of the setting is fitted with an applied loop surmounted by a bead. On the reverse of the setting is a brooch pin. At the center of the verso is an engraved inscription: "Hair of/ George Washington/ cut by Martha Washington, 1797/ for Mrs. Oliver Wolcott/ great-grandmother of/ George Gibbs V".





Gold, copper, glass, ivory, paper, human hair


Overall: 2 3/4 in. x 1 5/8 in. x 7/16 in. (6.99 cm x 4.14 cm x 1.12 cm)

Credit Line

Bequest of George Gibbs V, 1940

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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