George Washington preferred to have his own hair powdered and dressed in a tightly braided queue, a style favored by military officers. Once the hair was in a queue, it was often wound with a black ribbon, and for dress occasions, encased in a black silk bag. Though yards of hair ribbon and hair bags were routine purchases for Washington, such common articles of dress rarely survive today. These fragments, carefully preserved by relatives of Martha Washington, may represent a piece of Washington's hair ribbon, linen lining from his hair bag, and a lock of his hair.

See also W-2976.


A: Rectilinear fragment of black grosgrain ribbon, with one corner folded over; selvedges apparent on both short sides.
B: Narrow rectilinear fragment of stiffened, plain-weave linen, folded along its length and slightly twisted.
C: Several strands of yellow hair, half of which are tied with an off-white, two-ply, S-twist piece of thread.
All three (A-C) are enclosed in a folded piece of off-white wove paper, which is itself enclosed within a folded piece of wove paper.


c. 1760-1795



Silk, linen, hair, paper


Other (A): 11/16 in. x 1 1/4 in. (1.75 cm x 3.18 cm)
Other (B): 1 1/4 in. x 3/16 in. (3.18 cm x 0.48 cm)
Other (C): 7/8 in. x 3 1/4 in. (2.24 cm x 8.26 cm)
Other (Interior paper packet): 1 1/2 in. x 3 1/8 in. (3.81 cm x 7.95 cm)
Other (Outer paper packet): 1 3/4 in. x 3 1/8 in. (4.45 cm x 7.95 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Elizabeth Bowers Hill, Katherine Bowers Beeson, and Robert Lloyd Bowers, 1989

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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