Thomas Jefferson’s Hair

Posted on Oct 22, 2012


Thomas Jefferson died about 12-noon on Tuesday afternoon, July 4, 1826.

At some point that day his only surviving daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph, clipped some locks of his hair for keepsakes.

She sent three of those cuttings to the Library of Congress in Washington, clearly marked by Martha as her father’s hair.

According to the LOC, the clippings do not contain follicles so they are not valuable in terms of providing DNA.

Though 83-years old at the time of his death, Thomas Jefferson still obviously had a lot of red left in his hair.

What exactly caused Thomas Jefferson’s death on that Tuesday afternoon? The researchers at Monticello have offered this essay on the subject. Spoiler alert: it is NOT pleasant reading.