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Facial Hair Friday

The Civil War was a fine time for facial hair (and I would assume now is still a fine time for the facial hair of historic reenactors). On Fridays, we’ll be posting images of the finest, most dapper facial hair the National Archives has in its holdings, from the Civil War to Gilded Age Presidents.

This photograph combines the excellent stovepipe hat with two beards and a fine mustache—a very dashing portrait! The gentleman in the middle also appears to be wearing a hat, but we’re not sure what kind—can anyone identify what is?

Gen. Alfred T.A. Torbet and group, ca. 1860-ca. 1865 (ARC  529144)

Gen. Alfred T.A. Torbet and group, ca. 1860-ca. 1865 (ARC 529144; 111-B-5034)


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Comment from Alex Hammond
Time May 21, 2010 at 7:37 pm

The hat in the middle appears to be a Victorian era Forage Cap worn by officers on campaign, modeled on the British Army. Common enough practice among American officers at the time… but please, some clarification on that would be marvellous.

Comment from Rae Whitley
Time May 21, 2010 at 10:22 pm

19th cen. smoking cap

Comment from John Bell
Time May 24, 2010 at 3:57 pm

The gentleman in the center sports a facial hair style known as the “friendly mutton chops.” Were he to grow out the sides further, he would move into “Hulihee” territory, ala Chester A. Arthur.