We’ve all had good hair days now and then, but the legendary Seven Sutherland Sisters took the meaning of a “good hair day” to a new level.
Known for their floor-length hair and singing ability, Sarah, Victoria, Isabella, Grace, Naomi, Dora and Mary led very unique lives. Even more than a century after their glory days, the Sutherland Sisters and their eccentric lifestyle are still a popular talking point, with articles, books and stories still being shared on them. They gained world-wide attention, had questionable loves and tragedies rivaling much of what fills gossip magazines and social media today. And what makes it more unique, is most of it took place right here in Niagara County.
To celebrate these women, the Niagara County History Center will once again hold a Good Hair Day celebration.
Every couple years, this event takes place, the last time being three years ago. Melissa Dunlap, Executive Director, said they like to offer this program and exhibit, because people have an interest in their lives.
“Because the family is so interesting, when the information is presented it really is fascinating,” she said. “They were local celebrities that traveled around the country and Canada and really had some notoriety.”
The event will take place from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday at the center’s 215 Niagara St., Lockport location.
Attendees will hear the story of the Sutherland Sisters from Isabella Sutherland herself. Re-enacted by Marsha Zimmer of the Step Back in Time Players, Zimmer will present the story of the seven sisters, including new information she has discovered through her ongoing interest and research about the family.
“Their lives were really interesting,” Dunlap said. “They were very eccentric,”
The sisters were “very good singers,” the museum director noted, but it was their hair — which was 37 feet in length collectively — that really got people’s attention. Eventually, their father, Fletcher, decided to capitalize, bottling a “hair grower” product created by their mother, Mary. The product was credited for the women’s long hair, causing others to want it. Additional products, including a “scalp cleaner,” “colorator” and other concoctions, made the family millions and increased the sisters’ fame.
Even when Naomi became ill and passed away, Dunlap said they hired a stand in.
“She was Naomi for years,” Dunlap said. “Even dying didn’t dim the act. It continued on.”
Their wealth lasted for 15 to 20 years, until the bob hair craze ended the need for hair grower, she added.
“It really is a rags to riches to rags story. They never had money. When they got it, they didn’t know how to manage it. They thought it would last forever so they didn’t save it,” Dunlap said.
During the event, there will once again be a hair-measuring contest for both men and women, with prizes. In the past, women with hair as long as 5 feet or more in length have participated. There will also be children’s activities, along with the opportunity to view the Sutherland Sisters exhibit and hair wreaths. Information will also be given on how and why hair wreaths were made. The hair wreaths and Sutherland Sisters exhibit will be on display for an additional two weeks following the Saturday event.
Contact reporter Rikki Cason at 439-9222, ext. 6252.