Presidential Beards

Discussion in 'History & Geography' started by Ken Anderson, May 31, 2018.

  1. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    Jan 21, 2015
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    Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, and the first to wear a beard. Apparently, it caught on for a time because other than William McKinley, our next nine presidents sported a beard.

    Lincoln was never known to have had a beard until, on October 18, 1860, he received a letter from Grace Bedell, an eleven-year-old girl from Westfield, New York. She wrote,

    I have got four brothers and part of them will vote for you any way and if you let your whiskers grow I will try to get the rest of them to vote for you; you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin ... All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President.

    Lincoln replied the following day,

    ... As to the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would call it a piece of silly affectation if I were to begin it now?

    Within a few weeks, Lincoln appeared unshaven, with stubble sprouting on his chin. On November 26, he had his first bearded photograph taken - a thin straggling line of dark hair long his jaws. On January 26, when he sat for his next photograph, the beard was still scraggly, and only by February 9, just before he left Springfield for Washington DC, had his beard grown into something resembling the one he is known for.

    His trip from Illinois to Washington was a long one, as it took two weeks, with whistle stops along the way. One of these stops was in Westfield, New York. Although it wasn't part of his prepared speech, Lincoln added this,

    During my campaign, I had a little correspondence from your town. She kindly admonished me to let my whiskers grow, and since I've taken her advice, I would like to see her. Is she here? Is Grace Bedell here?

    Grace was passed up through the crowd, and Lincoln kissed her while the people applauded.
  2. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member

    Aug 11, 2015
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    Didn't know this the story. :)
  3. Michelle Anderson

    Michelle Anderson Well-Known Member

    Apr 6, 2016
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    Lincoln 1858 and again in 1860.

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    Yvonne Smith likes this.
  4. Hal Pollner

    Hal Pollner Very Well-Known Member

    Feb 11, 2018
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    I read that Lincoln wore a beard for only 18 months during his entire life.

    This doesn't mean its's just what I read.


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