Sunday, April 29, 2018

Burrill's beautiful "fluff", or
"Hey, that Papergreat guy is creepy"

It's entirely normal that, in the distant past, someone clipped off a lock of their beloved child's hair and tucked it into an envelope labeled "Burrill's beautiful 'fluff.'"

It's entirely normal that the envelope then, mostly likely, ended up in drawer for many decades.

It's entirely possible that, after all the immediate family members were gone, the envelope found its way to an estate sale.

It's somewhat understandable that someone then decided to sell the envelope in their antique-mall booth.

And it's creepy that I bought it.

Yep, that's me.

Proud owner of Burrill's beautiful "fluff." For the low, low price of $1.75.

Here it is...

Indeed, it is very nice fluff.

Isn't ephemera weird, sometimes?

That's OK, though. Humans are certainly "weird," especially when it comes to the things we choose to save and collect and sometimes hoard.

Throughout history, humans have saved locks of hair from their loved ones and revered ones. It was more common, at first, for snips of hair to be cut from the heads of the recently deceased. [Full disclosure: I saved a small lock of Coby's hair last year.] In a 2010 article in The State Journal-Register, Tamara Browning writes about the historical practices of using hair for remembrance and mourning. Hair was even incorporated into mourning jewelry, especially during the early to mid 1800s.

Mourning jewelry, of course, isn't nearly as sad or strange as the sentimental and still-popular practice of saving a lock from a child's first haircut. While I can't be sure, of course, I suspect that's the case with Burrill's beautiful "fluff."

And, in addition to baby keepsakes and mourning mementos, there are many other uses for human hair. In a bit of kooky kismet, here's a screenshot of a tweet that popped up in my feed this morning...


  1. Which reminds me of this article that I read some time ago

  2. This is a rather unusual post, but I really like it. I also want to know what envelope the Coby hair is in.