Throwback Thursday: The Zimmer Hair Bazaar

Willennar Genealogy Center’s collection is full of Throwback Thursday potential, so let’s get our #TBT on!

When you think of hair extensions, you probably don’t think of the turn of the century, but in the early 1900s, it was actually quite trendy for women to add some extra hair to their hairstyles. While hair was sometimes purchased, it was also not uncommon for customers to send their own hair into a local business to have something whipped up.

Valeria Zimmer

There was apparently one such business in Auburn during the early 1900s. According to an advertisement from a 1910 premium guide for the DeKalb County Fair, Mrs. Valeria Zimmer of Auburn, Indiana, accepted orders for “hair switches made from combings and cut hair.” Interested individuals outside of town could also put in an order—they would simply need to send their hair through the mail.


By 1915, Mrs. Valeria Zimmer was succeeded by the Zimmer Hair Bazaar, which specialized not only in switches—which were essentially your average hair extensions—but also in transformations and puffs, which could be used to add volume to one’s hair, an especially fashionable trait in Edwardian society.


This 1915 letter from the Zimmer Hair Bazaar to customer Maud Goodale reads:

“I received the combings you have send (sic) me by mail and have made you a nice switch and have enough short hair left to make a transformation reaching from ear to ear. And should you want to use it sometimes as a puff, I can show you how to roll some into puffs. If this is satisfactory drop me a card at once. . . .”

The switches and transformation she ordered were $1.50 each.

Want to see more local history? Click here to search our online photo database.


About Jenny

I am the Associate Director of Eckhart Public Library. My office is in the Administrative Annex, but I can often be found roaming the Eckhart Public Library Campus, performing acts of librarianship in every department! I love to read and learn about history. I'm also a huge fan of movies, TV and pop culture in general, and I love to read books of all types. Currently, I'm working my way around the romance section, with some historical fiction and graphic novels thrown in for variety! But you never know what I'm going to pick up next.
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2 Responses to Throwback Thursday: The Zimmer Hair Bazaar

  1. Ellen England says:

    When I was little I used to play with some hair switches at my aunt’s house. One was a long brown haired “ponytail” that had been hers when she was young. I don’t remember who the other came from, but it was wavy. My aunt was born in 1899, so the timing is right for the switches to have been made by the Zimmer Hair Bazaar. Thanks for the interesting TBT.

  2. Pingback: Throwback Thursday: Happy New Year! | Charlie Chat

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