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Hair Ye! Hair Ye!

Anna recently showed me a document that she received from Professor Jon White at Christopher Newport University. It is a customer testimonial contained within the Philadelphia Ledger for Gray’s Hair Restorative. The paper is dated Thursday morning, May 28, 1863.

This informative and entertaining testimonial is very similar to exaggerated claims made today by people promoting certain products. But U.S. Marshal Robert Murray seemed so convinced of the wonderous nature of the product that he attached his name and reputation to it!

You may be wondering what this has to do with our favorite ironclad USS Monitor. Well, NOAA archaeologists and Navy divers recovered two Gray’s Hair Restorative bottles during excavations at the wrecksite in 1997.

Although the contents of the bottles were missing, archaeologists and historians believe they may have been used to bring liquor aboard the vessel rather than to cure the ills of a balding head or graying hair. Regardless, a strong argument can still be made for the miraculous powers of Gray’s Hair Restorative. After all, the bottles found on the ironclad battled gray hairs AND gray coats!

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