The legacy left by President Abraham Lincoln has inspired generations since his assassination on April 15, 1865. Today we are focusing on one in particular, his beard.
Image of Abraham Lincoln courtesy of Library of Congress, Image of Professor Alfred Holbrook, donated by Jeanne Longmuir
While visiting a group of first graders in December I shared some photographs donated to the Records Center from the National Normal University. We were discussing the changes over time of people’s needs vs. wants and how style has changed over time. These inquisitive young minds were quick to point out that Professor Alfred Holbrook (President of NNU from 1855-1897) resembled President Lincoln, and they are right.
The story behind his beard was that 11 year old Grace Bedell wrote to the Presidential candidate encouraging him to grow a beard because it would help fill out his very thin face. The history behind men’s facial hair is as long as it is fascinating and this story just adds to the interest of how one mans choice can influence a generation. The image of Holbrook dates long after President Lincolns death and it must be noted that the students at the National Normal University do not share this facial hair style with their elder counterpart. So although the trend had moved on, those who lived during Lincoln’s Presidency kept this trend alive.
NNU Image, A.W. Hussey, Donated by Jeanne Longmuir
NNU Image, Enoch Neff Shields, Donated by Jeanne Longmuir
NNU Image, A.W. Williamson, Donated by Jeanne Longmuir
For further reading check out the following links:
Library of Congress
Lincoln: A Beard Is Born
To coincide with our “I Found it in the Archives” contest, we have included some of the coolest items we have within our archives. The Federal Land Office in Cincinnati distributed certificates to those citizens who purchased federal lands recently acquired from the Northwest Territory and the Northwest Ordinance. These records are fascinating because they contain some notable signatures including President Thomas Jefferson, President James Madison, and first Governor of Ohio Edward Tiffin. Another fascinating fact is that one of these certificates was issued to General William C. Schenck, the founder of Franklin, Ohio.
(For more information regarding our “I Found it in the Archives” contest, please check out our facebook page: Warren County Records Center & Archives Facebook)
Certificate of the Register of the Land-Office at Cincinnati, Daniel Antrum, signed by President Thomas Jefferson, October 23rd 1806
Certificate of the Register of the Land-Office at Cincinnati, Colbert Watson, signed by President James Madison & Governor Edward Tiffin, July 12th 1813
Certificate of the Register of the Land-Office at Cincinnati, General William C. Schenck, signed by President James Madison & Governor Edward Tiffin, August 20th 1812