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Facial Hair Friday: By Request

Horace Greeley, ca. 1860-ca. 1865, ARC 526061

Horace Greeley, ca. 1860-ca. 1865, ARC 526061

At least three colleagues here at the National Archives and one commenter have mentioned Horace Greeley as a candidate for the spotlight here at Facial Hair Friday. And upon looking him up and letting out a strangled gasp, I had to agree that his facial hair is indeed worthy of a blog post.

I’m not sure that Greeley’s hair is even, well, facial. It’s more like neck hair run amok. Is it a beard or a neck-beard “neard”?

In a recent FHF post, we posted a table that showed the bearded candidate had a better chance of winning when pitted against a clean-shaven candidate.

In 1872, Greeley even ran as a Presidential candidate against the heavily bearded Grant, but suffered a landslide loss. In the tabulation, we did not count Greeley’s facial hair as a beard, since it did not cover his chin.

Might Greeley have more political success with a different whisker style? Should we have counted his “neard” as a beard?

Despite Greeley’s eccentric appearance, he was also a well-respected editor who launched the widely read The New York Tribune.  “According to this article, he “opposed slavery as morally deficient and economically regressive” and supported the Emanicipation Proclamation (on display at the National Archives from November 11 to 14).

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Comments

Comment from Meredith
Time November 5, 2010 at 10:22 am

That is one scary guy. No wonder he lost.

Comment from Joanne S.
Time November 5, 2010 at 10:26 am

Yes, it’s definitely a beard. Look at his left cheek (on our right as we face him). No question about it! An ugly beard, but a beard none-the-less!

Comment from John Stephen Dwyer
Time November 5, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Greeley was an accomplished and celebrated person in his era. Would he guess we’d all be turning our attention to him in November 2010 because of his grooming decisions? “Nothing beside remains. Round the decay / Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare”