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Tag: elections with facial hair

FHF: The Beard Gap

Two beards have never competed for the office of the President. Pictured here is Rutherford Hayes, a bearded president who beat the clean-shaven Samuel Tilden (111-B-5739)

Two beards have never competed for the Presidency. Pictured here is Rutherford Hayes, a bearded President who beat the clean-shaven Samuel Tilden. (111-B-5739)




In the history of Presidential elections, there has never been a battle of the beards. Beards have challenged mustaches. Mustaches have challenged clean-shaven candidates. Clean-shaven candidates have challenged beards. But never in the history of our republic, have two bearded candidates duked it out on the campaign trail.

This is startling for many reasons. One, beards are awesome, and have experienced a sort of renaissance as of late. Two, statistically speaking, the beard is more “electable” than a baby face.

Look at the numbers. In Presidential elections, bearded candidates have only faced off (ha!) with clean-shaven candidates in five elections. In three of them—1868, 1872, and 1876—beards took the White House. That means the odds are with you if you run with a beard.

Year Victor Runner-up
1856 Clean-shaven Beards
1864 Beard Mustache
1868 Beard Clean-shaven
1872 Beard Clean-shaven
1876 Beard Clean-shaven
1880 Beard Mustache
1884 Mustache Beard
1888 Beard Mustache
1892 Mustache Beard
1908 Mustache Clean-shaven
1912 Clean-shaven Mustache
1916 Clean-shaven Beard
1944 Clean-shaven Mustache
1948 Clean-shaven Mustache



History buffs will be quick to point out that the 1876 beard win was something of a technicality. The oh-so-heavily bearded Rutherford Hayes lost the popular vote but won the electoral vote (Florida … [ Read all ]

Before Playboy, there was Flossie

A full-length cabinet photo of Miss Flossy Lee, Record Group 118 Records of the US Marshall

A full-length cabinet photo of Miss Flossy Lee, Record Group 118 Records of U.S. Attorneys, National Archives at Boston

Sixteen-year-old boys loved her. Parents of 16-year-old boys did not.

Yes, long before Hugh Hefner donned his trademark smoking jacket, before Larry Flynt shocked a nation with Hustler, there was Miss Flossie Lee. In the 1890s, the Augusta, Maine, entrepreneur ran Art Photo Co., a corporation that promised to send photos of “the best female models” for a buck. Purportedly, the photos of scantily clad women were intended for “art studies, and as models for the student in figure work, or the young artist who finds the living model a too expensive luxury. . .”  But what they really were was porn.

Judging from the documents at the National Archives at Boston, Miss Flossie Lee was the victim of her own success. She operated without any evident complaint in Maine, then she decided to go for the big time. “I am the acknowledged belle of my own city, and have beaux by the score,” she writes in an ad, “but wish to extend my acquaintance over the whole country.” The trouble was that shipping obscene material across state lines was a Federal offense.

Congressmen complained. The Assistant Attorney General was peppered with letters from the Post Office inquiring what sort of action could be taken against … [ Read all ]