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Object Name: Hair wreath in frame
Date: 1862
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Medium: Human hair, beads, wood
Dimensions: Overall: 33 x 28 x 6 in. ( 83.8 x 71.1 x 15.2 cm )
Place made: North America, United States, Boston
Description: U-shaped floral wreath of hand-knit human hair with pearl-white beads set in the centers of some of the flowers; in the center of the wreath is a floral bunch and "1862" made of human hair; above the wreath are the intials, "M. A. R." of human hair; all sewn to a white mat and placed in a deep wooden oval frame with an interior band of gilt beaded moulding and outer frame decorated with floral decoration.
Credit Line: Gift of Miss Nellie S. Cobleigh and the late Henry Rice Cobleigh
Object Number: 1953.139
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Marks: Knit above wreath: "M. A. R. / 1862"

Gallery Label:

This hair wreath was made by Martha A. Rice (b.1844), in 1862, at the age of 18, in Boston, MA. It took two years to make on knitting needles. In 1869, Martha married Nelson S. Cobleigh and moved to Cleveland, Ohio. In 1872, unbeknownst to Martha, Mr. Cobleigh entered the wreath in the Northern Ohio Fair. It was awarded the silver medal in the "Best Display of Hairwork." The basket of flowers was added later and was made of family hair: Martha's, Nelson's, and their five children.