Scientific Research on Early Modern German Haircare Recipes

Dr Stefan Hanß (Senior Lecturer in History, The University of Manchester)

Early modern German artwork
©image rights: The John Rylands Library, University of Manchester.

Dr Stefan Hanß has been awarded a Scientific and Digital Humanities Grant by the Rylands to conduct scientific analysis of haircare recipes from early modern Germany.

“This is extremely exciting news,” Hanß said, “that allows for further interdisciplinary research on the material culture of early modern haircare.” For this project, Hanß will continue to collaborate with material scientists from the University of York and from Rehovot, Israel, building on conversations originating from The British Academy event Microscopic Records: The New Interdisciplinarity of Early Modern Studies, c. 1400–1800

This event brought together established scholars and early career researchers of different disciplinary backgrounds conducting research on early modern material culture. This project now examines which kind of materials have been used to treat, cure, dye, or alter hair in sixteenth-century Germany, and how this relates to other medicinal and cosmetical recipes from that period.

Results from this research will feature into Dr Hanß’s Leverhulme Prize project on the history of hair in the early modern German and Spanish World, a project which he will start in September 2021.