Recommended Reading

TheProvidence Public Library’s 2018 spring exhibition, HairBrained, focuses on hairstyles throughout history—braids, curls, facial hair, wigs—and the ways in which hair defines and reflects culture, self-identity, agency, and politics. Many of the resources listed in this guide were helpful to the curators as they developed the exhibition.


  • Bristol, Douglas Walter. Knights of the Razor: Black Barbers in Slavery and Freedom. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015.
  • Byrd, Ayana D, and Lori L. Tharps. Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2014.
  • Corson, Richard. Fashions in Hair: The First Five Thousand Years. London: Peter Owen, 1965.
    An extensive and illustrated chronological survey of hair styles.
  • Edwards, Audrey. Essence: 25 Years Celebrating Black Women. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1995.
  • Mills, Quincy T. Cutting Along the Color Line: Black Barbers and Barber Shops in America. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013.
  • Paterek, Josephine. Encyclopedia of American Indian Costume. (Denver, CO: ABC-CLIO, 1994)
  • Pointon, Marcia R. Hanging the Head: Portraiture and Social Formation in Eighteenth-Century England. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1993.
    See particularly, section IV: “Dangerous Excrescences: Wigs, Hair and Masculinity.”
  • Schiebinger, Londa. Nature’s Body: Gender in the Modern Science. Boston: Beacon Press, 1993.
    See particularly the “That Majestic Beard” section, page 120 and following.
  • Scott, Georgia. Headwraps: A Global Journey. (New York: Public Affairs, 2003).

Articles and Online Resources