All the Ladies Like Whiskers (and Abe’s ‘Before’ Picture)


Everyone needs a signature look, right? Especially if you’re famous. Cleopatra had the eyeliner, Twiggy had the ‘do, Iris Apfel had those huge glasses, etc.

Know who else nailed this concept? Abraham Lincoln. When you think Abe, you think beard. Probably height too, maybe hat, but definitely beard.

As it turns out, he owes his famous beard to the advice of a little girl that he received via letter (and responded to). Check out that before pic above! What if he had looked like that all along?

And I’ve gotta say, that little girl was right, the ladies do like whiskers. I love some good scruff, myself.

From Letters of Note.

”When Norman Bedell returned home from a political fair late-1860, poster of clean-shaven Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln in hand, his 11-year-old daughter quickly took it upon herself to assist the future U.S. President with his campaign. Her plan – simply for Lincoln to grow a beard – was quickly set in motion by way of the following letter, in which Grace urged him to “let your whiskers grow”; before long, Lincoln replied. They met in the coming months, as the newly-hirsute President-elect travelled victoriously to Washington, D.C. by train.

“He climbed down and sat down with me on the edge of the station platform,” she recalled. “‘Gracie,’ he said, ‘look at my whiskers. I have been growing them for you.’ Then he kissed me. I never saw him again.”

Here are the transcripts of their letters (actual copy shown above, hers on the left, his on the right):


Aren’t you going to think about that every time you see an image of him now?

And how awesome was that little girl? So opinionated, articulate, and sassy! If the actual letter didn’t still exist I wouldn’t even believe it because she’s such a skillful letter writer! I love her!

And I love that he not only wrote back, but also took her advice!

2 Responses to “All the Ladies Like Whiskers (and Abe’s ‘Before’ Picture)”
  1. Sadie says:

    Look where she was from!!
    Next time you are in Chautauqua we should go to Westfield. Maybe we can find the archives!

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