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Object Record

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Object ID # 1961.043.009
Object Name Hairpin
Title Tortoiseshell Hairpin
Lexicon category 3: Personal Artifacts
Date 19th-century
Made Unknown
Place of Origin Unknown
Description Tortoiseshell hairpin with gold pique decoration at the top closed end. It is a Victorian item.
Provenance Unknown maker.

Formerly belonged to Elizabeth McLean (nee Blyth or Blythe) who was born in 1838 and died in Owen Sound, Grey County, in 1921. Elizabeth arrived in the village of Sydenham in the 1840s, with her parents, after moving from the Cincinatti area.
She married a Scotsman, John McLean, in the early 1860s in Owen Sound, Canada West.

The last owner, Mary A. McLean, Elizabeth and John's daughter, was born in 1878, and died in 1967, in Owen Sound.
Collection Toiletry & Cosmetic Collection
Material Tortoiseshell/Gold
Dimensions W-2.5 L-9 D-1.5 cm
Found Owen Sound, Grey County
People McLean, John
McLean, Mary A.
McLean, Elizabeth
Subjects Turtles
Function A decorative hairpin, used for a female's upswept hairstyle. Tortoiseshell was obtained from sea turtles and used for a variety of Victorian items, such as calling card cases, hair combs and pins. Tortoiseshell hair combs with gold pique work were popular circa 1890, and before. Eventually early celluloid plastics could be mass-produced using a faux tortoiseshell colouration.