Smithsonian.com presents: “Who Had the Best Civil War Facial Hair?” — a gallery of twenty-four incredible face-coifs, with voting privileges. Click on each photo for a neat little bio of each person, as well as wonderful examples of Civil War-era photography, which still looks amazingly crisp even today.
Thanks to Christy, Scott, Frank, Clint, folks on Twitter and the million others who sent this my way! I am glad to have people instantly think, “I know who needs to see this.”
== BONUS BEARD LINK #1: ==
“A Beard’s Eye View of Nineteenth-Century U.S. Politics,” sent in by faithful Marksman Will H., is a description of a Penn State grad student project:
Why did millions of American men begin sprouting facial hair in the 1850s? And why did most of them cut it off by the early decades of the twentieth century? [...] To investigate that question, and with some indispensible technical support from my father, I’ve begun putting together a database of nineteenth century politicians and their facial hair.
== BONUS BEARD LINK #2: ==
Some answers to the questions posed above. Here is a new transcript of my interview with the world’s foremost beard expert, Dr. Christopher Oldstone-Moore. I’ve linked the audio from this interview before — but now I’ve also textified it for greater readability! Since you cannot read audio. Like, at all.
In the interview, we discuss:
• The birth of the Victorian beard — and how its emergence can be traced precisely to 1848
• Both beards and clean-shavenness as signifiers going back to the Greeks
• The reasons for the decline of beardedness around 1900
• What the current Renaissance of beards could mean
“…I do think that we’re in an exploratory era. I don’t really know where that exploration is going to go, but I do think you’re right. There is more freedom, more interest in looking for a new style of facial hair than there has been in a long time.”
The full transcript is here! Enjoy!