CBS Local — It’s not uncommon to find another person’s notes or letters left behind in a library book. For one New York college, the find was historic after a lock of the nation’s first president was discovered in an 18th-century almanac.
Archivists at Union College in Schenectady found a copy of a leather-bound book, titled “Gaines Universal Register or American and British Kalendar for the year 1793,” while going through some of the college’s oldest books. The 200-year-old book was used to give population estimates for the original colonies.
Inside the historic text was an envelope tucked in the pages with the heading “Washington’s hair, L.S.S. & (scratched out) GBS from James A. Hamilton given him by his mother, Aug. 10, 1871.” The envelope contained several strands of gray hair tied together by a single thread, which manuscripts dealer John Reznikoff told USA Today was “undoubtedly George Washington’s.”
The Union College archivists say the book belonged to Philip J. Schuyler, son of the college’s founder Gen. Philip Schuyler. “The eldest Schuyler was also a close friend and supporter of Washington, served under him during the Revolutionary War, and later became a U.S. senator from Albany,” researchers wrote in a news release.
“This is a very significant treasure,” said Union’s head of archives, India Spartz. “It’s a tremendous testament to history and our connection to some of the most important historical figures.”
President Washington’s hair is estimated to be worth between $2,000 and $3,000.