Washington’s hair found at Union College

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A stunning discovery in Union College’s library has everyone talking — a piece of America’s past, found in an unlikely place.

India Spartz knows it’s the kind of thing you have to see to believe. “This is George Washington’s hair,” she tells Nexstar contributors WTEN.

His hair was found inside an envelope tucked into an old book at the library.

The book was published all the way back in 1793.

“It’s a bit of a needle in a haystack,” Spartz says. She’s the Head of Collections and Archives at Union College. She and her staff did some digging. No CSI forensics needed. Just historians with a knack for finding clues, like an inscription on the inside of the book.

“Phillip J. Schuyler. Given to him by one of his friends,” she explains.

It turns out Schuyler’s dad was a general who served with Washington. The two families were close.

“They were well connected, they had a good social standing.”

Back in those days, when someone died, it wasn’t uncommon to give away a strand of hair as a token.

Flash forward to 2018 and the whole campus is buzzing.

“It’s pretty cool. I mean it’s a piece of history,” says one student.

“Who would have thought with all those books in the library?” says another.

Plans are already underway for the iconic hair to be on display soon at the college.

This story was originally posted by WTEN, a Nexstar contributing station.

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