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Tag: facial hair friday

What a beard! What a name!

Bezaleel W. Armstrong. Graduated U.S. Military Academy and Brevet 2nd Lieutenant, 1st Dragoons, 1845; copy of daguerreotype, circa 1846. (ARC 530873; 111-SC-83420)

If this Friday’s facial hair star lived in present times, he would be so very easy to Google.

Yes, “Bezaleel Armstrong” would be pretty easy to find on Facebook and the Internet. In fact, even now a quick name-check in the Google search box pulls up plenty of hits on his unique name.

He would also be pretty easy to spot in a crowd, with his chin-strap beard and long curled hair.

Belazeel was one of eight children, whose names were just as noteworthy: James, John Milton, Margaret King, Albert, George Washington, Eliza Jane, and William Wallace.

The Armstrong family papers are in the Minnesota Historical Library.

Today’s post is not Bezaleel’s only brush with fame. This daguerreotype (a precursor to today’s photography) is also in the Digital Vaults of the National Archives Experience.

Bezaleel was also a veteran of the Mexican War, serving at Vera Cruz and Mexico City in 1847–48. He died in 1849, aged 26.

(Thank you to Laura B. and Kathleen L. of the Foundation for the National Archives for suggesting Bezaleel as a candidate for today’s post!)… [ Read all ]

Friday Facial Hair: It’s Date Night!

Smartly dressed couple seated on an 1886-model bicycle for two (77-RP-7347-4) ARC Identifier 533495

Earlier today, I was searching for images with “bicycles” to create a Facebook album after being inspired by the commuters of DC, who took to the streets on their bikes to celebrate DC Bike to Work Day.

I was thrilled to see this image, which is not only a fine example of a nineteenth-century velocipede, but is also a tandem bicycle for double the old-timey fun. And not only that, but this gentleman has a fine moustache and sideburns, qualifying him to be featured in Facial Hair Friday.

But the burning question is this: Are these two on a date?

After all, what better way to spend time out in public with your sweetheart in a way that met the high moral standing of the day?

If they are, I am impressed. They are both have corsages to pinned to their coats and have on stylish hats. The woman is wearing gloves and a fitted corset with many, many tiny buttons. The man’s facial hair is neat and tidy, unlike the flowing beards and neards that we often see. They are impeccably groomed, a fact noted in the original caption to this photo which refers to them as a “smartly dressed couple.”

And despite operating a four-wheeled bicycle together using their … [ Read all ]

Thor? Is that you?

H47-05 (Photo ID#), circa January 1972, Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham at Yale Law School in New Haven, CT. Clinton Historical Family Photograph Collection.

H47-05 (Photo ID#), circa January 1972, Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham at Yale Law School in New Haven, CT. Clinton Historical Family Photograph Collection.

It’s very rare to have an example of a recent beard, and even more rare to have a bearded President after, oh, 1890. So I was shocked when John Keller, an archivist at the Clinton Library, sent a link to this picture of President Clinton. He explains the unusual find in this guest post:

Here are two aspiring Yale law students posing for a photo in the early 1970s and looking very seventies indeed. Please admire the “Viking” beard look that this future President is sporting at Yale Law School.

You won’t be the only admirer: the First Lady cited the “Viking” look in her memoir Living History. This is the first of many photos—to say the least—in which Bill and his new friend Hillary would be featured in the coming years. But that was all in the future. It was the early seventies and this picture of law student Bill truly captured the “hairy” nature of the times.… [ Read all ]

Facial Hair Friday—Edward Bates

Edward Bates, Attorney General in the Lincoln administration. (ARC 528314; 111-B-4168)

Edward Bates, Attorney General in the Lincoln administration. (ARC 528314; 111-B-4168)

Edward Bates was living quietly and comfortably in 1860. He had been out of public life for two decades but now was being courted by backers for the highest office in the land. The new Republican Party’s nomination for President of the United States was wide open, and a number of contenders were vying for the prize.

Those who urged Bates to put his hat in the ring considered his standing as an elder statesman of Missouri (he’d arrived in St. Louis in 1814 and been a delegate to the state constitution convention) and his previous public service (state legislator, U.S. Representative, judge). Perhaps they were also swayed by his impressive whiskers, which give him a patriarchal air.

Bates did not win the nomination—a beardless lawyer from Illinois won the party’s backing and the Presidency. When the newly be-whiskered Abraham Lincoln was filling his Cabinet, though, he called on Bates to be his Attorney General. Bates was part of the unlikely “team of rivals” brought together by Lincoln. Two other former Presidential candidates, William Seward and Salmon P. Chase, were brought into the Cabinet as Secretary of State and Secretary of the Treasury. (Another member of the Cabinet, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton has been a Facial Hair Friday honoree.)

President Lincoln himself remarked on Edward … [ Read all ]

Facial Hair Friday: Grow West, young man!

Photograph of General John C. Fremont, ca. 1860–ca. 1865 (ARC Identifier 527917)

Photograph of Gen. John C. Frémont, ca. 1860–ca. 1865 (111-B-3756; ARC 527917)

After a brief hiatus, Facial Hair Friday is back with a special Valentine’s week post!

When Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri wanted to encourage Americans to emigrate to the west as part of the Manifest Destiny movement, he decided that eyewitness descriptions of the landscape were necessary.

So in 1842, Benton sent off his son-in-law John C. Frémont as the head of a series of expeditions to survey and map the Oregon Trail to the Rocky Mountains.

It wasn’t Frémont’s first time surveying new territory. Frémont had been in the Corps of Topographical Engineers and later explored and surveyed the Des Moines River and the area between the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.

But this trip called for a special guide, and  Frémont hired Kit Carson, the well-known mountain man and adventurer to lead the first expedition. After that, the men went on several expeditions into the Sierra Nevada and along the Oregan Trail.

And in a move sure to swell his father-in-law’s heart with pride and his fellow explorers’ hearts with jealousy, Lt. John C. Frémont also “discovered” Lake Tahoe on February 14, 1844, Valentine’s Day,  putting the lake on a map for the first time.

South Lake Tahoe, California, 05/1972 from DOCUMERICA (543590; 412-DA-1097)

South Lake Tahoe, California, 05/1972 from DOCUMERICA (543590; 412-DA-1097)

You can read pages from Frémont’s report in the “Eyewitness” online exhibit.… [ Read all ]