Lock of Pardon Mawney Whipple’s Hair
This curled lock of hair, still a glossy chestnut brown after nearly 200 years, belonged to Pardon Mawney Whipple, who died of consumption (now known as tuberculosis) at age 37 on May 11, 1827. This lock of hair was clipped from Whipple’s head, perhaps at the time of his death or even earlier, as a way of remembering him. The practice of keeping a lock of someone’s hair as an intimate memento was common in the 19th century. Locks of hair, which do not decompose quickly, were often braided, tied with ribbon, or incorporated into jewelry.
Whipple was assigned to USS Constitution as a midshipman during the War of 1812 under Captain Charles Stewart, and was aboard during the engagement with HMS Cyane and HMS Levant. He detached from Constitution on September 10, 1815. Due to his declining health, Whipple left the U.S. Navy for good at the rank of lieutenant on September 30, 1824.