Letters With Impact: The Story of Abraham Lincoln's Beard

Updated: Mar 30

When we think of the 16th President of the United States, many things may come to mind- perhaps his assassination or the American Civil War. Maybe you'll picture him in your head, complete with a bushy beard on his chin.

But President Abraham Lincoln's beard comes with its own story. A few weeks before the presidential election, Lincoln was freshly shaven- until he received a letter.

The letter was from eleven year old Grace Bedell. She advised Lincoln in her letter that a beard would improve his chances of election, because his face was 'so thin' and 'all the ladies like whiskers.'

Lincoln took Grace's advice. He even took the trouble to visit her several months later, and said to the gathered crowd:

"Some three months ago, I received a letter from a young lady here; it was a very pretty letter, and she advised me to let my whiskers grow, as it would improve my personal appearance; acting partly upon her suggestion, I have done so; and now, if she is here, I would like to see her; I think her name was Miss Barlly." A small boy, mounted on a post, with his mouth and eyes both wide open, cried out, "there she is, Mr. Lincoln," pointing to a beautiful girl, with black eyes, who was blushing all over her fair face. The President left the car, and the crowd making way for him, he reached her, and gave her several hearty kisses, and amid the yells of delight from the excited crowd, he bade her good-bye, and on we rushed.' (From the Philadelphia Inquirer of February 20, 1861)

And that is how Lincoln got his beard. It is crazy to think that without Grace's letter, one of the most famous beard's in American History may never have existed.

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