Roundtable: Whiskerology, the Meaning of Hair in Nineteenth-Century America

Join us for the first Bancroft Library Roundtable of the 2015-2016 academic year, taking place in The Faculty Club at noon on Thursday, September 17.  Sarah Gold McBride, doctoral candidate in history at UC Berkeley, will present "Whiskerology: The Meaning of Hair in Nineteenth-Century America."

Please note: This month, we will meet in the O'Neill Room of The Faculty Club.

In 1846, a New Orleans Picayune reporter proposed a new branch of natural science that, he argued, could provide scientists with reliable evidence of a person's genuine identity. He called this new field "whiskerology," the scientific study of facial hair. Though this idea may never have moved beyond the level of suggestion, the Picayune reporter represented a common belief among nineteenth-century Americans: that hair could expose the truth about the person from whose body it grew. Using evidence drawn from across American life - including scientific findings, legal practice, slavery, popular art, immigration debates, and agitation for women's rights - this talk will explore how nineteenth-century Americans understood the meaning of hair. It was not just a means of creative self-expression, as it would come to function in the twentieth century. Instead, it was understood to be a trustworthy method to quickly classify a stranger - to know if someone was trustworthy, or courageous, or criminally inclined. Studying hair in historical context allows us to better understand how nineteenth-century Americans made sense of the increasingly modern society in which they lived.

Sep 15, 2015 | Categories: Events | Titangos

Reading Room Intersession Hours

August 17th - 25th
1-5 pm

Normal hours of operation will resume on August 26th.  Please plan your research accordingly.

Aug 17, 2015 | Categories: News | Titangos

On Exhibit: Highlights and Shadows

Highlights and Shadows

May 7 - September 4, 2015
The Bancroft Library Gallery
Open Monday - Friday, 10am - 4pm

The gift from the Reva and David Logan Foundation includes more than 2,000 titles. The Logan Collection comprises some of the most sought-after and significant books by American and European masters of photography. This gift brings Berkeley's scholarly resources for the study of photojournalism, press photography, and documentary photography to the national forefront.

May 07, 2015 | Categories: Exhibits | Titangos

Reading Room Intersession Hours

May 18th - June 19th
Open from 1pm - 5pm, Monday - Friday

Normal hours will resume on June 22nd.  Please plan your research accordingly.

May 04, 2015 | Categories: News | Titangos

On Exhibit: Berkeley's Ivory Tower: The Campanile at 100

Berkeley's Ivory Tower:  The Campanile at 100

February 16 - November 2, 2015
The Bancroft Library Rowell Cases
Open during the operating hours of The Doe Library

Sather Tower, also known as the Campanile, looms large as a physical structure and as a widely recognizable symbol for the UC Berkeley campus. This exhibition celebrates the centennial of the landmark through photographs, letters, architectural drawings, illustrations, newspaper clippings, ephemera, and other holdings from the University Archives and The Bancroft Library manuscript and pictorial collections.

Feb 16, 2015 | Categories: Exhibits | Titangos

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