Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Jamestown Gentleman

Here, then, is a not too closely cropped beard overtopped with a fine mustache. Had he chosen the mustache without the beard or the beard without the mustache he would have lost the gentlemanly effect entirely. No, in this case the one must have the other.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Man and His Dog

A fine gentleman and his faithful companion pose before a painted backdrop in a studio. His cheerful expression, highlighted with the cheerful upturn of his mustache is in contrast to the slightly intent expression of his dachshund.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Man w/Beard, ca. 1854-1860

Man w/Beard, ca. 1854-1860
Here is a right gentleman with a fine beard. And while one might be tempted to think that he was emulating emancipator Abraham Lincoln, in point of fact, this man's facial adornment predates the growth upon Lincoln's chin. Perhaps it was Lincoln who was emulating this man.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Abraham Lincoln

I begin with a most famous example of what the proprietor of Mustaches of the Nineteenth Century declares “the most foolish of facial hair: the mustacheless beard.”

Abraham Lincoln, November 8, 1863In the fall of 1860. Abraham Lincoln was the Republican nominee for president of the United States. A lifelong beardless man, he received a letter written by Grace Bedell, an 11-year-old girl from Westfield, New York, wherein she said:

“I have got 4 brother's and part of them will vote for you any way and if you let your whiskers grow I will try and 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 husband's to vote for you and then you would be President. My father is going to vote for you and if I was a man I would vote for you to but I will try to get every one to vote for you that I can I think that rail fence around your picture makes it look very pretty I have got a little baby sister she is nine weeks old and is just as cunning as can be.”

In his personal reply to young Miss Bedell, Mr. Lincoln said:

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

Nevertheless, by February 16th 1861, the now president-elect stepped from the train in Westfield, New York, bedecked with his now famous beard, calling out to Miss Bedell that he had indeed, taken her advice.

Lincoln was the first American president to sport a beard and is generally regarded as one of America's finest presidents.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


While I have been a frequenter of the Mustaches of the Nineteenth Century establishment and in many ways agree with the proprietor as to the style and manliness of such facial adornments, I fear I must take exception to his rather low opinion of beards. The proprietor often uses descriptives such as “madness” and “shameful.” His posting of the first of April declaring bearded men the “Fools of April” was finally too much for me to continue suffering in silence.

I therefore announce the opening of this establishment; Century of the Beard.

This is, of course, in no way meant to belittle mustaches or the fine menagerie presented by the neighboring Mustaches of the Nineteenth Century. I, too, once had a mustache when I was young and just growing into my identity. But as I matured, I merely found it to be an inadequate expression and evolved into something more substantial. Many other fine gentlemen also took that path less traveled to grow beards, refusing to be deterred by gangs of raucous and clean shaven youths mocking their elders and betters.

I also beg your pardon, gentle readers, in that I do not have the extensive archives of the University of Kentucky at my disposal. I will begin my journey by accessing public sources and perhaps, should providence smile upon me, I shall have opportunity to present new, exotic, mysterious and heretofore unseen beards for previously untapped sources.

Welcome to the Century of the Beard