Albany, City of the Bald?

1862 Schenectady Directory Hair Restorer

If you believe what Professor Henry A. DeMunn had to say in 1862 (and I demand to know the provenance of his doctoral degree), that he had been working for a year and a half with the worst cases of baldness to be found “in this or any other country,” then you have to wonder just what was going on in our fair city that caused such aggressive hair loss. Legislative stresses? Kerosene in the drinking water? The establishment of an alopecia colony? No clue is given, nor does he make clear whether his dollar-a-bottle hair restorer was to be applied to the head or taken as a tonic — a common enough approach that, if amply fortified, would help the user to forget the dollar he had spent.

The stretch of Orange Street where the Professor once practiced his scientific endeavors is long gone under the I-787 on-ramp. He boarded at 35 Van Schaick, where he listed his profession as “hair restorer.”

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