Around 1884, when the Sisters were traveling with Barnum and Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth, their father realized that crowds flocked to see the girls' long hair more than their singing act.
Fletcher Sutherland mixed together a liquid concoction that he called The Seven Sutherland Sisters Hair Grower. He sent a bottle to a chemist for an analysis and received the following testimonial:
A 1907 analysis of the product showed the following contents: 28.4% alcohol, about 1% solids with traces of borax and quinine.
The Seven Sutherland Sisters Corp. bottled and distributed the Hair Grower from
and sold $90,000 worth the first year. They soon added a Scalp Cleanser, a Seven Sutherland Sisters Comb and eight shades of Hair Colorators. New York City
● "Remember ladies it is the hair not the hat that makes you beautiful."
● "A woman's hair is her crowning glory."
The Early Years
The Sisters' mother, Mary, reportedly applied an ointment on the young girls' hair to stimulate growth. Their classmates often complained of the offensive smell.
Perception of Floor-Length Hair
For publicity photos, the Sisters always posed with some sitting or bending at the waist so it appeared that each of them had hair that reached the floor.
The Eighth & Ninth Sisters
When Naomi died in 1893, the Sisters searched for a long-haired substitute to join them. They finally found a woman in
, named Anne Louise Roberts, whose hair was 9-feet long. She toured as one of The Seven Sutherland Sisters from around 1894 to 1902. Another woman, Anna Haney, took the place of Carbondale, Pennsylvania when she died in 1902. Ms. Haney's hair was 6-feet long and she toured with the Sisters from about 1902 to 1906. Victoria
Each Sister had a doll made with combings of her own hair. The dolls stood up to three-feet high and were dressed in the most expensive costumes of the period. They were used for window displays to advertise the Sisters' hair products. Two of the dolls are reportedly still owned by
residents Niagara County
Long Hair and Insanity
Mary Sutherland had very heavy hair that some people believe led to her spells of mental illness. At the time, people believed that long, heavy hair robbed the brain of nourishment and could lead to insanity.
Victoria Sutherland was reportedly offered $2,500 to cut off her 7-foot long hair. She refused that offer, but sold one strand of hair to a jeweler for $25. The jeweler suspended the hair in his shop window with a seven carat diamond at the end.
In his book, George Michael's Secrets For Beautiful Hair, long hair care expert Dr. George Michael contends that cutting bangs (or fringe) caused the Sisters' hair length to shrink. Dr. Michael attributed the phenomenon to the process of equalization, where hair seeks to have the same length all over the head. Dr. Michael says that within a year, the total length of the Sisters' hair went from 49 feet to 29 feet because of bangs.
Once they made their fortune, each Sister reportedly hired a personal maid to comb out her hair. The maids also had to look after the seven dolls that each sister had made in her likeness.
Masking the Sun
The Sisters were often seen tending to their gardens in the summer wearing cloth masks to protect their hair and faces from the sun.
The Sutherland children were all musically inclined and often performed around
as the "Sutherland Concert of Seven Sisters and One Brother." In 1881, they performed at the Atlanta Exposition in New York State . They traveled with "W.W. Coles Colossal Shows" in 1882 and joined "Barnum and Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth" by 1884. Georgia
The Daily Journal,
, late 1880s Lockport
"Miss Sarah N. Sutherland - Known as a fine solo singer, and celebrated for her Scotch and English songs and has long massive hair.
"Miss Victoria Sutherland - Has a mezzo-soprano voice, and has the longest hair on record, being seven feet, or eighty four inches in length.
"Miss Isabella C. Sutherland - Has a high soprano voice, of great flexibility and power, and
has hair six feet in length, of great fineness.
"Miss Grace Sutherland - Sings tenor, and has a sweet melodious voice, and is an excellent Piano accompanist, and has hair between five and six feet in length.
"Miss Naomi Sutherland - The world renowned female Bass Singer, has the most massive hair ever worn by any human being on earth, and which envelopes her whole body as with a garment.
"Miss Dora Sutherland - One of the younger sisters, has an alto voice, and has abundant hair about five feet long.
"Miss Mary Sutherland - Has a soprano voice, and is the youngest of the Seven Sisters, and for her age, has the most wonderful growth of hair, and it is rapidly growing to be the longest and most massive hair in the world."