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Facial Hair Friday: Movember

These men all have mustaches—and it's not even for charity. It's because mustaches were cool in 1898. (Staff and Line Officers, 2nd Regiment Oregon Volunteer Infantry. Greely Collection., ca. 1898)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, I don’t mean the frenzied season of gift-giving. I’m talking about November, the month when several of your friends who have maintained clean-shaven faces suddenly begin to grow mustaches. If you love facial hair, this is your time.

Yes, it’s Movember! The month when men grow mustaches to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer.

Now, this is a noble cause, and “I’m growing it to fight cancer” will certainly be a silencing response to people saying things like “The 1970s called and they want their mustaches back.” But we would like to make a case for you to keep that sub-nose hair after November 30. After all, the mustache does not just belong to cheesy 70s flicks.

We often feature Civil War–era facial hair, but mustaches do not have to be outrageous Albion Howe–style affairs. Many famous American men sported a well-groomed mustache. So in case you may want to consider keeping yours after November 30, we’ve assemble some inspirational mustaches below.

Now when people ask why you are still growing that ‘stache on December 1, you can say you are stealing the style of one of the men below.

Good luck and good mustaching!

President Theodore Roosevelt had a mustache while he was in office. He started growing his mustache early: here he is as a colonel in the 1st Cavalry, U.S. Volunteers, ca. 1898. (ARC 530951)

Sure, Edgar A. Poe had some personal troubles, but his mustache adds to his air of melancholy. You may want to consider this style if you hope to be remembered for your writing long after your death. (ARC 528345)

Grover Cleveland is the only man to have served two non-consecutive terms as President. His mustache is a good example of detracting attention away from a slightly oddball name like "Grover." (ARC 518139)

Gen. George A. Custer is a rather controversial figure, mostly remembered for his defeat and death at the Battle of Little Bighorn, but he was a successful leader for the Union Army during the Civil War. While he almost always had a mustache, he did change the styling over it over the years. A bold choice for those who like to spark vigorous debates about history. (ARC 528637).

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