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Tag: facial hair

Facial Hair Friday: The Death Mask of Walter Q. Gresham

Today’s featured facial hair is especially appropriate for the approaching Halloween weekend. It’s the plaster cast of a beard, taken of the deceased Walter Q. Gresham, who was Secretary of State at the time of his death in May of 1895.

This  death mask—complete with a few beard hairs stuck in it—may seem like an oddity now, but at the time it was a mark of reverence for a beloved official. The cast was made so that sculptors could later create a permanent likeness of the deceased.

And Walter Q. Gresham seemed a likely candidate for a commemorative statue. He was enormously popular.

Gresham held several important positions, serving as a general in the Union Army during the Civil War, U.S. Postmaster General, a Federal appellate court judge, Secretary of the Treasury, and finally, President Grover Cleveland’s Secretary of State in 1893.

An article in the May 29, 1895, edition of the Washington Post covered the events in detail. Gresham was the first member of the Cabinet to have a funeral in the East Room of the White House and the second man to have the troops ordered out for his funeral. The Government Printing Office was ordered closed as a mark of respect. Flags across the city—including foreign embassies and consulates—were lowered to half mast for 10 days.

After the funeral service at the White House, the coffin was taken … [ Read all ]

Facial Hair Friday: Prisons, Potatoes, Pipe Cleaners

You may have seen some of these beards and mustaches before! The mug shots of prisoners at Leavenworth Penitentiary have been featured here and here.

But the images above take facial hair to a whole new level! Staff at the National Archives at Kansas City got together and created Potatriot dioramas (inspired by this post). They kept the prisoners’ jumpsuits simple with black and white paper, but then took pipe cleaners and pens to interpret the facial hair, from beards to handlebar to stubble. Truly impressive! Click on the picture to enlarge, or admire the set on Flickr.

You can check out our full set of historic Potatriots dioramas on Flickr. And if you create your own Potatriots scene, send it to volunteer@nara.gov, and we will add it on Flickr!

Why do we hold the records of prisoners at the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas? Find out in this Prologue article!… [ Read all ]

Would you elect these whiskers?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you looked at your money lately? Among the nickels and quarters and dimes, only the copper penny has a bearded profile.

But although Lincoln’s facial hair eventually became an iconic part of his image, he originally ran for President as a clean-shaven candidate.

Why grow the beard? The answer may lie in a letter written to Lincoln on October 15, 1860, exactly 150 years ago

Eleven-year-old Grace Bedell of Westfield, NY, wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln, then a Presidential candidate, suggesting he should grow a beard. “You would look a great deal better for your face is so thin,” she wrote, noting that “all the ladies like whiskers.”

Lincoln wrote back, wondering ”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?” But a month later, Lincoln was sporting a full beard as he campaigned.  

What do you think? Does the beard make you want to vote for him?… [ Read all ]

Facial Hair Friday: Handlebar mustaches are not authorized

In the U.S. Army of 2010, the regulations state that mustaches are limited to men, and the length and shape of the mustache itself is severely limited:

“Mustaches are permitted; if worn, males will keep mustaches neatly trimmed, tapered, and tidy. Mustaches will not present a chopped off or bushy appearance, and no portion of the mustache will cover the upper lip line or extend sideways beyond a vertical line drawn upward from the corners of the mouth. Handlebar mustaches, goatees, and beards are not authorized. …they are not authorized to shape the growth into goatees, or ‘Fu Manchu’ or handlebar mustaches.”

Despite their ranks as generals, these two Civil War soldiers would not meet the stringent policies of today’s Army regarding mustaches. General Poe has a goatee; and while it is not a “Fu Manchu,” Blunt appears to be sporting a soul patch.

Only 150 years later, these mustaches are not only unfashionable, but they are even outlawed. What could have caused such a change in military mustache policy?… [ Read all ]