Encyclopedia of Hair
A Cultural History
by Victoria Sherrow
February 2006, 488pp, 7x10
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-33145-9
$97, £75, 85€, A133
eBook Available: 978-0-313-01527-4
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Examines the social and cultural significance of hair thoughout history.

Examines the ways in which hair has served as a signifier of class, gender, ethnicity, conformity/non-comfority, authority, and power throughout history. Countless issues and examples are explored in this volume including: hair styles of royalty; wigs worn by lawmakers and judges; ceremonial hairstyles of tribes throughout the world; Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads; hair in the counterculture (including the musical Hair); skinheads, Mohawks and punk style; the hairstyles of First Ladies; celebrity hairstyles; women shaving their heads to subvert gender and sexuality stereotyping; the entire hair-care industry; the search for a cure to baldness; and diseases and disorders related to hair. Broad topics in this book include hair arrangement/styling; care and cleansing; business and commercial aspects; laws and legal matters; trends and trendsetters; and health and science. An introductory essay explores the universal human interest in hair and hair-styling throughout history and around the world. It is followed by alphabetically arranged entries, each including sources for further reading. This work is highly relevant to the study of class, gender, popular culture, and politics. A lavish set of color and halftone illustrations completes this fun and useful title.


"This work by Sherrow wins the browsability award, for both its topic and its eye-catching cover. As the only current reference book on hair, it will certainly find a place on many library shelves. Global in scope, its coverage includes biographical information (Max Factor, Elizabeth I), ethnicities and countries (African Americans, China), hairstyles (the bob, dreadlocks), and other hair-related entries (dandruff, hairpins)....[i]t provides a good first stop and a lengthy bibliography on the topic of hair. Recommended. Academic and beauty-related collections serving lower-level undergraduates, two-year technical program students, practitioners, and general readers."—Choice, September 1, 2006

"To many, hair is a reflection of personal style. It is also a signifier of class, gender, ethnicity, and even power. In this resourceful A-to-Z, Sherrow explores the impact of hair styles and their implications in various cultures throughout history. The essay-length entries, accompanied by black-and-white photos as well as a full-color photo insert, cover everything from celebrity hair (e.g., the Rachel) and the hair care business (e.g., Vidal Sassoon) to disorders (e.g., dandruff) and organizations (e.g., Locks of Love)."—Library Journal, April 15, 2006

"Hairstyles reflect cultural, religious, and political beliefs; social status; occupation; health; and other key aspects of life. In her introduction to the universal preoccupation with hair grooming, Sherrow overviews scientific facts about hair, its social meaning, and the hair products industry. Cross-referenced entries from adornment, ornamental to Zotos, International include historical-cultural context, trends, trendsetters, b&w and some color illustrations, and further reading. This unique reference includes an extensive bibliography."—Art Book News Annual, January 1, 2007

"Anyone interested in hair fashion and treatment, either as it immediately affects them or from the perspective of a historical period or a different ethnic group will learn from this book."—Reference Reviews, March 1, 2007

"[T]he Encyclopedia of Hair is a useful starting point for research on this multidisciplinary topic....[t]he Encyclopedia of Hair covers a bald spot in reference collections in academic, public, and vocational school libraries."—Reference & User Services Quarterly, January 1, 2006

"[T]here is fascinating stuff here for anybody prepared to comb through it."—Times Literary Supplement, July 28, 2006

"Hair has displayed more than changing styles: it's served as an indicator of class, gender, conformity and power throughout history - and Encyclopedia of Hair: A Cultural History follows the changing issues surrounding hair and styles. World history and all cultures are taken into account throughout, with chapters opening with an essay on the overall topic, followed by alphabetically arranged entries along with black and white photos and bibliographic references. Any college-level holding strong in not only history and culture but fashion will find this appealing to many different genres."—Midwest Book Review/California Bookwatch, May 1, 2006

"Victoria Sherrows survey of the history of hair explores the meanings attached to head dressings in different periods and cultures around the world. Her scope includes specific hair styles, the treatment of facial hair, grooming tools, colorants, ornaments, hair diseases and beliefs. The impact of innovative hairdressers, advertising, and trendsetting celebrities is also examined. Finally, the coverage also includes the hair care business and consumer safety issues. Dozens of color and black-and-white photographs illustrate numerous fashions, but fortunately no mullets. The often anecdotal entries may not satisfy every research need, but Sherrow has conveniently compiled a wealth of information that could previously only be gleaned from a variety of clothing, fashion, anthropological and historical encyclopedias. Her notes also provide students with other potential avenues of research. Her handy volume will be welcomed in public and academic libraries."—Lawrence Looks at Books, May 1, 2006

"Encyclopedia of Hair is an insightful and thorough academic book looking at the subject throughout time....It helps to know about the history of your hair to justify paying $18 for a tiny tube of serum, but hair history won't squirt back at you."—MetroLA, March 27, 2006
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